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Light Switch

Your beliefs will be the light by which you see,but they will not be what you see,and they will not be a substitute for seeing.
- Flannery O’Connor

Welcome to Light Switch!

KSJD's essay project "Light Switch" is modeled on This I Believe, a national dialogue begun in the 1950s by the famous broadcaster, Edward R. Murrow. Born out of the Cold War era at a time when people were uncertain about their personal and collective futures, This I Believe invited famous people to share a core value--framed in a personal narrative style-- that explained or exemplified something both positive and personal. The show was well received and soon spread to the general public. To date, there are over 20,000 personal essays permanently housed at the Library of Congress. KSJD and Light Switch host Penny Holiday invite you to participate in this community conversation by submitting your own short essay that tells us why you believe what you believe.

Light Switch is:

  • an opportunity to connect a personal belief with a personal event
  • an exercise of self-exploration through storytelling
  • an expression of individual core principles
  • an opening to participate in a fresh way with your community

Light Switch is NOT:

  • a list of beliefs
  • a platform for persuasion
  • a statement of political, religious, or ideological dogma or doctrine
  • an opportunity for preaching or editorializing (there is plenty of that on social media!)

So with that in mind, we want YOU to share something personal that exemplifies one or two of your core values or principles that guide your life. Here are our guidelines:
1.   Tell a story. How did an event in your life help shape your belief.
2.   Be brief. We ask that your essay be between 300-500 words which can be read in under 5 minutes.
3.   Name your belief, be specific!
4.   Be positive. Don’t tell us what you’re against, tell us what you believe.
5.   Be personal, make your essay about you.

We at Light Switch understand that it is much easier to list what it is we do NOT believe, rather than what we do believe. We want to know what YOU believe, and how you arrived at that belief.

When submitting your essay, we would prefer Google Docs which allows privileges which you can accept or reject. If you are more comfortable with Word, then please permit access to editing for the sake of form, style, and length. If using a PDF, please allow editorial comment. Penny Holiday, the host of Light Switch, will be in contact with possible suggestions and/or revisions for essays that may be considered to be read on KSJD!

So get to it! When your essay is ready, email it to

Click "Listen" below to hear the latest Light Switch essays!

Danielle Desruisseaux - Going Slow
David Feela - A Ranger In My Backyard
Dave Ross - Making Assumptions
Stan Wellborn - Timelessness
Liz Bohm - Grief
Tom Yoder - The Force
Janet Lever Wood - Longfingers Ruin
Ardys Dunn - Connections
Peter Ortego - Nothing
Maddy Butcher - Listening
Debie Schmitt - Kindness
Arlina Yazzie - Sunflowers With Me
Olivia Clark - Gratitude
Paul Koops - Hot Soapy Water

Alex Bond - Carving

Click on the names and titles below to hear This I Believe essays to inspire you:

Opel Ruth Prater - Love Is Stronger Than Death

Norman Corwin - Good Can Be As Communicable As Evil

Brighton Earley - Finding the Flexibility to Survive

Jason Sheehand - There Is No Such Thing as Too Much Barbecue

Sudie Bond Noland - The True Value of Life

Bela Fleck - Doing Things My Own Way

Many more This I Believe essays can be read and heard on their website: