Molly Fisk: 10 years, 342 KVMR news essays later |

Molly Fisk: 10 years, 342 KVMR news essays later

Molly Fisk has collected her news essays into published books.
Heidi LeVell |

Ten years ago this week, poet/teacher Molly Fisk began writing and recording a weekly essay for KVMR 89.5 FM’s Evening News.

In fact, she’s done it so often now that it’s become part of her weekly lifestyle.

“A regular writing gig every week was a huge shift for me,” she explains. “I’m so glad I know how to do it now because it’s given me the patience and discipline to produce things, even sometimes poems, right away when I need to.”

Fisk’s humorous, evocative slice-of-life commentaries can be anything from her bowling exploits (“Gutter Girl”) and alphabet song memories to 21st century women’s groups and life in cardiac rehab (“Where The Boys Are”) after a “heart event.” They run at 6:25 p.m. Thursdays (89.5 FM, and are also available via podcast at the Nevada City radio station’s website,

“My weekly routine with the essays is to think in a random and distracted manner from Monday through Wednesday,” Molly confides. “Then Thursday morning I sit at my favorite coffee shop and sometimes just start writing, or sometimes ask people there what I should write about.”

She’ll finish it up about 11:30 a.m. and gets recorded by News Director Paul Emery at 1:30 p.m.

The routine has become so regular that Fisk rarely gets them done any sooner.

“I’ve tried to write them earlier in the week, just to not have that pressure, but they aren’t as easy to produce nor as good, I don’t think,” she wryly adds. “There’s a sweet spot between calm, steady functionality and abject panic, and it happens around 8:30 on Thursday mornings.”

The result has been 342 of them, some collected in a pair of books with the unlikely names of “Blow-Drying A Chicken” and “Using Your Turn Signal Promotes World Peace,” with a third volume in the works. They’re available at local bookstores as well as online via Amazon and Powell’s websites.

“One thing local people like is knowing exactly what I’m talking about,” Molly says with a smile, “whether it’s how swollen the river is after a big winter rain or the fact that sea salt has infiltrated the dessert menu of every restaurant in town.”

“Having any part of your life documented like that (via the essays), something you know privately in an ordinary way suddenly mentioned on the radio, makes people feel good. Validated and connected. I didn’t start out thinking that what I was doing might help build and strengthen community, but I think in a funny way it has.”

While she admits she’s “pretty much” said all there is to say about her fascination with Christmas lights, Fisk points out there are always new trends like the farm-to-table movement.

“It’s given me things to say about both sustainable living and the guilt involved when you let your CSA vegetables rot in the ice box and have to sneak them out to the compost at night so nobody knows you’re a terrible person.”

Her personal favorite essays are “Botox” because “it makes people laugh so hard when I liken (rock music star) Neil Young’s neck to a 200-year-old elephant scrotum.” The other one was poignant when she witnessed “Utah Phillips’ body being taken out of his house, carried by his children, and loaded into the mortuary van.”

And what’s essay number 343 going to be like?

“Since it isn’t Thursday quite yet, I can’t be entirely sure, but I think something about devotion would be good,” she predicts.

“You know, how doing something over and over both requires and turns into a kind of love, even on those days you don’t feel like doing it. And how the regularity of the deadlines, of the commitment you’ve made, carries you through all the ups and downs.”

Whew. It was only Monday when she said that. Plenty of time to get it done, or is there?

Saturday tops drive

KVMR’s week-long fall membership drive brought in nearly $55,000 from over 450 donors, including 51 new members.

Top day of the drive was the Nevada City radio station’s Saturday, where nearly $17,000 was raised in the biggest Saturday haul in five years, according to station officials.

On The Air is a weekly irreverent look at Nevada City’s volunteer-driven community radio station at 89.5 FM and streaming at Complete KVMR schedule available at the station’s website, The station now features an easy-to-use archive of all music shows for two weeks and talk shows for two months at

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