He found his voice and defined a generation. And he owes it all to a little piece of fruit.
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Because the way I heard it is now a book of the same name and because that book is now a New York Times best seller. He said with great modest, I am using the incredibly valuable space in front of the store you're about to here to invite you to pick up a copy for yourself now. It is tempting to point to the many hundreds of five star reviews that the way I heard it has so far received, but that feels to self congratulate worry. So, let's just say, let's just say that the way I heard it makes a heck of a Christmas present, which you can order right now at micro, dotcom, Slash book that Micro Dotcom, Slash book. Honestly, if you like the podcast, you're gonna, love the book and if you'd like an autograph copy for Christmas, perhaps we still have a few of those left at micro, dot, com, slash book. Having said that, this is the way I heard
when Donald Crouch first encounter German is english class. The aging teacher found a sullen fourteen year old boy, deep in a cocoon of self imposed silent. Donald might have assumed Jim was border, disinterested or maybe even backward. Certainly, he appeared to be all of those things, but there was something in the young boy that lit up. Whenever the subject turned to poetry. It was subtle but Donald could see a shift in the boys posture, a quiet, but on mistake, the bull enthusiasm that accompanied any discussion of Tennyson were Shakespeare or Chaucer one day, Donald kept Jim after school and tried to reach the boy boy. Behind the stony facade, problem was soon made clear. Jim stuttered, not little Alot Donald, listened patiently is Jim tried to articulate the humiliation he live
with all his life through the stammering and Sputtering Donald saw that Jim Head turned to the written word, because the spoken word had eluded him. The next day, Donald instructed his english class to write an original, I M the topic didn't matter as long as it was something they felt passionate about, and that is where fate stepped in. As fate often does this time in the form of a Ruby Red grapefruit during the depression, rickets and scurvy were public health issue in Michigan, so the government sent tons of vitamin c up from Florida to help combat the problem. Earlier that weak, a welfare worker had delivered a crate full of grape fruit juice his home and Jim. It very nearly swallowed his tongue with delight it was the most incredible delectable mouth watering food he'd ever tasted that night, Jim wrote owed
to a great proved, a flowery homage to epicurean bliss brought to life by the fool juicy luxury of eating citrus in the dead of Michigan Winter Jim submitted his palm the next day and Donald was stunned by how good it was so cited to do something most teachers today would never consider he decided to put Jim on the spot. Donald had no stir earlier. The gym stutter vanished when he quoted his favorite poets. So later that weak He returned there assignments with grades and comments attached, Donald addressed the class. I've read your poems and for the most part, I'm pleased he said summer. Quite good, several are excellent and one is extraordinary. Jim would you kindly come to the front of the class and readers what you ve written.
Jim sat frozen in his seat as the blood rushed to his face when the other students stared. Why would a teacher ask him to do such a thing? Jim had trusted Mr Crouch, and now he felt betrayed then Mr Crowley said Jim. I think your poem is too good to be true. Frankly, I dont think you wrote it. Practically speaking. Jim may have been mute, but his hearing was excellent and he could not believe his ears. Mr Crouch was accusing him of plagiarism. Now Jim was angry. If the words are really yours, Jim prove it stand and recite them right now. We're admit you stole them. M sprang to his feet and recited owed to a grape fruit, just as he had written it, there was anger and his voice, but what a voice it was big and booming and clear is
well, that was the day Jim learned. He didn't stutter when he recited the same day that Donald Crouch unlocked one of the most familiar voices in the world as well frost put it way leads on to way and gems I was suddenly clear, Jim became a master at memory. Zation recite, in. Poetry allowed evolved into joining the debate class that led to the theatre event Julie. His new found, vocal prowess took him all the way to Broadway where he was cast the lead in the production of Shakespeare's Othello apart, he memorized with no problem at all. A Antonia word followed that at Emmy than an honorary Oscar
world. It seemed was too small to contain a voices biggest Jim's, so Jim took on the galaxy a galaxy far far away. That is how the voice of Darth Vader was coaxed from the body of James Earl Jones. Mentally talented performer, who would likely still be a silent observer of the world around him, but for an extraordinary teacher who understood the power of the spoken word and the unexpected arrival of a Ruby red grape route, the tasted too good to be true anyway. That's the way I heard it.
Transcript generated on 2019-12-31.