Okay, so… “Announcement.”
Ken Levine – of the esteemed blog bykenlevine.com. – has informed me that the podcast interview he recently conducted with me will be available to interested ears tomorrow. If you have two of those – or even just one, the other amenable to going along for the ride – here are the instructions concerning what to do. (I am copying directly from Ken’s e-mail.) (In case you think I have any idea what I am talking about.) (Though if you are regular followers, why would you?)
“They can go to this link:
Or they can go to ITunes and get it as one of their podcasts. Or they can go to my blog. (See: Above blog-“handle.”) There’s a player right underneath my masthead. Have them just click on the big gold arrow. Or search for it on practically podcast app. So they can listen to it on any device.
So that’s it.
And now – hold onto your hats – an additional “Bonus Feature” you will not hear on the interview, because…
I forgot to say it.
I felt good about the interview. Generally focused and unhurried. (Thank you, meditation.) Still, on the ride home – as invariably happens post facto– an excluded wonderful answer to one of Ken’s questions popped into my head. It was readily available; I was just not aware of it at the time.
EARL’S BRAIN: “We sent the message.”
EARL: “It must have fallen into my nasal cavity on the way down to my mouth.”
Here now is the answer the people who listen to Ken’s podcast but eschew reading this blog will never receive.
It was Ken’s first question, and I flubbed it. Maybe I was not entirely relaxed with the physical setup, or that I remained mentally dazed that anyone wanted to interview me. For whatever reason, I was embarrassingly thrown by Ken’s opening question, which was the following:
“What is your process?”
I immediately panicked.
Flashback to my exam-writing days.
“I did not study that question!”
At first, I was unclear as to what Ken was talking about. “What process?” It only gradually became clear he meant my process for writing scripts.
“It’s been a while,” I replied, answering both truthfully and stallingly. Truth is, I was totally lost for an answer. Which is a problem in a “live” interview. There are no salvaging “escape routes.” You can fumblingly funferthrough it. (“My process, you say. Hm. You are inquiring about my process...”) You can try to joke your way out of it. (“I have heard of the word ‘process’ but only in relation to cheese.”) You can try something less English – where, incidentally, they say “proh-cess” – and go deadly silent, leading people to think their devices have suddenly stopped working.
You know, in all my years of writing, I had never once thought about my process. Which itself is an answer, although hardly a helpfully instructive one.
ASPIRING WRITER: “An award-winning writer never thought about his process. I’m going to not think about my process, and with any luck, I’ll be as successful as he was.”
I have no idea why I felt blindsided. Ken’s a writer. He speaks to writers – on his blog and on his podcast. I’m a writer. Why would I surprised by a directly “writerly” question? It wasn’t molecular… whatever it is. It was writing, for heaven’s sake. I dothat!
And yet there I was, struggling for a viable response. (If you listen to the podcast, you may actually hear me swallow my tongue It is not a pretty sound. And you can imagine how I felt, letting Ken down on his first question.)
And then, I am sitting in the Lyftcar taking me home… and a honey of an answer casually rises to the surface.
I thought of Tom Jefferson.
Notthe third president of the United States. My analogical reference derived from
Canada, where the name does not immediately suggest the author of the Declaration of Independence who had an affair with his late wife’s half-sister who happened to be black.
This was “Grade 10” classmate Tom Jefferson from Bathurst Heights Collegiate and Vocational School. Tom’s awesome distinction was that – “Pop quiz” or year-end “Final” – he always got a hundred on his math exams.
Tom’s mathematical achievement was astonishing to me. And, though hardly close friends, I mustered the courage to try and discover his secret.
“Hey Tom, can I ask you something? How do you always get a hundred in math?
Tom Jefferson would contemplatingly pause. Then, finishing pausing, he’d speak.
“How do I get a hundred in math? Well, I sort of… look at the questions, and I kind of… figure out the answers.”
That’s when I realized – not in “Grade 10” but when I remembered Tom’s answer –
That was my process.
Call it “educated blundering.”
I do not know what I’m doing, and then it begins to come clear to me… and I do it.
With the added years of experience, I “educatedly blundered” progressively faster. But the essential mechanism was always the same.
I have no idea how to do it. Then I do, and I do it.
And now you know.
And the people ignoring this blog don’t.
Not to be maddeningly repetitive, but
And for good measure,
(* Sour grapes for getting the answer in the car. Mostly.)
I made a mistake about the podcast interview of me. It will be available next Wednesday at 9 P.M.