Richard Bausch Reads ‘Letter to the Lady of the House’

Me After a RunFor the past few weeks in Morocco, I’ve been jogging on the beach, first thing in the morning. As with most forms of exercise, I loathe jogging. However, we’re eating out a lot here in Morocco, and I must stave off the fat somehow.

I run barefoot. Not because of my last name, or because I’ve become some kind of hippie. I just thought I’d give it a try. Plus, I could avoid the difficult process of buying (potentially dodgy) Moroccan sneakers.

It’s actually fairly pleasant, as jogging goes. I run just at the waterline. The sand is both fine and firm, and there’s very little debris. I have yet to step on a crab or a broken bottle. I’m a habitual ground-watcher, truth be told, so I’m not worried about stabbing myself.

I walk down to the beach in my flip-flops, take them off, and, well, take off. Flip-flops in one hand, iPod in the other. I’m an inelegant runner at the best of times, and I must look mighty goofy.

Anyhow, I like to listen to long podcasts while running, so I don’t have to mess with the music (I find the notion of a motivating ‘power song’ kind of silly–see also my thoughts on music at the gym).

As I mentioned, I only recently discovered This American Life. The most recent episode revolves around the subject of long marriages. The first piece features Richard Bausch reading his short story “Letter to the Lady of the House”. It is a beautifully written and read story, and feels very, well, American. I highly recommend it.

Between the second and third ‘acts’ of the episode, there’s a gorgeous version of “Someone to Watch Over Me”. On the This American Life website, it’s credited to Sting. He has a version of the song (I thought it was from this album, but it’s actually this one) but it’s not this one (nor is it nearly as good). I browsed through iTunes and eMusic, but couldn’t find anything promising. I tried a few Google searches, but unfortunately there’s another episode of TAL named “Someone to Watch Over Me”. In fact, there seems to be some weirdness, because that episode (#269) includes the same ‘second act’ as the current episode. Weird.

If anybody happens to listen to it (it’s at about 45:30), let me know if you recognize the singer. I also asked MetaFilter, in case anybody there knew.


  1. I am a fan of This americian life and was quite moved by the Richard Bausch reading. The night I heard it I told my wife I also would have done it all knowing where it would bring me.

  2. Listening to podcasts while running? I can’t imagine! I’m one of those people who has to listen to dance music when I run – but I do listen on my iPod, so I spare others from having to listen to my Groove Coverage- and Dresden Doll-heavy personal running soundtrack.

    I quite like podcasts in non-exercise contexts. Like on the bus. Or while driving. Or doing housework. This American Life totally rocks!

  3. I was in tears after hearing the Richard Bausch reading. And in tears again hearing Springsteen’s “The River”. I really want to get a transcript of the story. Guess I’ll have to buy the book. The Valentine’s Day broadcast was one of the best TAL episodes I’ve heard in a long time.

  4. I just had to write and comment on about how much I too enjoyed this reading by Richard Bausch.

    I can find his book “Selected Stories of Richard Bausch” which includes the story “Letter to the Lady of the House, ” at Amazon and Barnes and Nobles, but I guess the only recording of him reading his stories is on This American Life, bummer.

    Anyway, because we live in the country and cannot get high speed Internet, I cannot figure out how to download the podcast for TAL so that I can have a copy of that show. I can’t even listen again with this stupid dial-up we have. So…I’m going to just buy it, because I really want to listen to it again and share Richard Bausch’s story with others.

  5. How poignant – how sincere – was Richard Bausch reading of his own words. TAL just keeps getting better –
    Stay addicted darrenbarefoot

  6. Curious to know what you meant by the reading being, well, “American” – I agree – but can’t quite put my finger on it. Is it Americans’ expectations that a poignant heightened romance be maintained throughout marriage compared to other cultures’ more reasonable expectations on lifelong partnership?

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