So, the radio interview went well. It was exciting and a bit nerve-wracking — especially when the very kind host called me at home right before I was leaving for the studio, to tell me that she had inadvertently left all her notes at home, and since she did not have her pre-prepared questions, did I know what I wanted to talk about? “FOR 30 MINUTES”?
She was so apologetic, and I could tell that she always prepared well for each interview, and she was now wondering how this one would turn out. For some reason, this put me oddly at ease immediately. I realized I was comfortable winging it; it was not knowing the questions she might ask that had my stomach doing flip-flops. And, it turns out, as she started telling me some of the questions she could recall off the top of her head, I DID NOT HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT I WOULD HAVE SAID TO ANY OF THEM. It would have been a disaster. Well, as big a disaster as an interview can be if no one I know hears it. Seriously, as far as I know, NO ONE I have ever met heard the actual broadcast. I did mention that this interview was broadcast on a very small public radio station? The one with the distinction of being the only official public radio station in the U.S. that broadcasts out of a retirement community? Still, I had been nervous, even if it was possible some of the audience may have been people who could not get up to change the station.
The broadcast booth reminded me of the one on Frazier, except there was no Roz, rather a very encouraging grandmotherly woman instead. And there was no psychiatrist. But other than that, it was a lot like the show. The room had a big control panel with lots of knobs and levers, and people wearing headphones talking into humongous microphones. The Panel-Operator-Guy did count down “3…..2…..1 ” then point dramatically to us that we were live. That was a heart-skipper. Actually, in retrospect maybe it was more like WKRP in Cincinnati. With no Les Nessman or Herb Tarlek. Or Loni Anderson. But otherwise it was a lot like that.
I received a copy of the show on CD in the mail the other day. I don’t think I wanted to write about the experience until I heard it myself. Of course, my voice doesn’t sound anything like it does in my head — it had a distinctly northern Wisconsiny nasal quality that is uncomfortably close to Palin-esque. Like I could almost see Alaska from my old house.
But all in all, it turned out to be a great experience. I got to talk about about my funny motherhood story, and the experience of being published for the first time. I talked about what a kick it is to be included in an anthology, and how it opens doors for interesting experiences, like being where I was that day. The host could not have been more kind or encouraging. She has authors lined up to interview each week through November, and has done this show for many years, so I was in good company. In fact, the author on the second half of the hour-long program was a fascinating man who lost his sight in college when hit by a stray bullet, and the book he has written about the inspirational life he has led since then. I listened to his interview on the drive home — it kind of put my little story about poo, lying, and chocolate cake into perspective. The show was very professionally produced and conducted. And it was just fun. Before I did it, I kept thinking of it as my “first practice interview”, which makes a giant leap of faith that there will be more opportunities like this in the future. Even if I never get the chance to do it again, the experience is something I will always remember. I felt honored to be there.