Collected Wisps of Thought

Yesterday I completed my first TV interview. In a word, surreal.

It was for a cable TV station that shoots programming for 33 different cities across the country. Usually they shoot interviews with people from each individual city, but occasionally they need national "filler" interviews. That's where I came in.

I'd never done anything for TV before and I found it… odd. I want to say exciting, or exhilirating, or even challenging, but it wasn't really any of these things. It felt like something suspended in time. Something self-conscious.

Here's what it's like:

You come into a studio that looks nothing like you ever imagined a television studio would look. It's smaller, more like a barn. You meet the camera people and the host and get your mic hooked on, and then you sit on a tall red swively stool. You have to remember not to slouch and not to swivel, even though both are more than tempting. They tape you saying your name and your web site address, and then they tape you nodding and smiling at nothing so they can plug it in later if necessary. Your face feels like glue.

The whole time they're shooting, your body faces the camera that's shooting you, but you face the host who is asking you questions. You feel askew. At times you find yourself wondering if you're smiling wierd, or if you only feel like you're smiling wierd. The host asks you questions and you do your best to answer them intelligently, brightly, happily, but you're conscious of the fact that the banter must go on… there must be no breaks in your witty reparte.

You wonder who will see this, and when. What will be happening in their lives that will make them turn on a local TV station and watch you smiling and nodding? You picture the show being aired at odd hours of the early morning. You imagine viewers awash in the purple glow of their television sets. For just a single moment, you want to look directly into the camera and say, "Hello. I know you". But you don't.

Then it's over, and you can't remember a single word you said. Were you funny? Were you wise? Did you say anything that anyone will remember? Did you say anything you'll later regret? You think about the celebrities who do this for a living, lounging beside Leno and Conan, laughing and looking oh so relaxed. For a moment you have a whole new respect for them because they make things look easy.

Then you get back into your car and drive down Normal Street to your house on Plain Avenue, but instead of feeling disappointed, you feel somehow relieved. You've dipped your toe into the pool of celebrity and even though the water was only an inch deep, you have a sense of the vastness of the ocean. It's an ocean of narcissism, and you wonder how anyone manages to swim in it without drowning.

You change into comfortable clothes. You slouch on your couch. Then you turn on Ellen and watch wide-eyed as the celebrities parade in, one by one…

"Hello," you think. "I know you."


Attention all you aspiring writers! I just posted an interview with Ginger Knowlton of Curtis Brown, Ltd on my web site.

Ginger is such an amazing agent. I should know — not only does she represent my books, but I used to work as her assistant. She's funny, talented, smart… I highly recommend her.

You can find the interview at: on the Writer's Resource Page.

And while you're there, don't forget to join the forum and introduce yourself!


et cetera