Today in My History
2000:The Tooth, the Whole Tooth
2001: No entry--in England
2002: Is there a Full Moon?
2003: Did You Ever Know that You're My Hero?
2004: Gimme a Glass of Herbal Tea and Leave Me Alone
2005: It Changed My Life
2006: Family Project
2007: Loss of Innocence
2008: A Cup of Peanutbutter Cookies
2009: Mothers Day
Hughie and Krapp's Last Tape
Books Read in 2010
"The Cat Who Knew a Cardinal"
Recipes for Cousins Day Drinks
(updated 3/17/10) And Then I Ate
VIDEO OF THE DAY/WEEK
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Spirit of '43
Ned's Video for Bri's 2nd birthday
No You Can't (John Boehner)
Jim Brochu closes NASDAQ
Stupid, Callous, Homophobic, Hateful Legislation
New on My Easter 2010
Mirror Site for RSS Feed
THE FIRST INTERVIEW
11 May 2010
I'm not sure I should identify people we interview for our upcoming book, so for now I'll go with anonymous identifications.
Today Alison and I got started in earnest and interviewed our first subject. When we had our planning session, we talked about how we would start the interviews. For the first two books, we didn't really need a game plan. We knew which people we wanted to talk to, and had a rough idea of how the book was going to go, and so we just took interview subjects as they had time for us.
This time, however, we are less familiar with the company and an incredible number of things have happened in the past 25 years, only some of which we were aware of, so we felt that we could be most efficient in our interviews if we did four key interviews (each with two people) first. This would be interviews with the current and past board presidents, the artistic director, and the people who developed the new-ish (since we did our last book) young people's program.
We had interviewed all of these people in the past, possibly twice before in the case of some of them, and I consider all of them personal friends, some closer than others. So it wasn't like we were walking in cold to these interviews.
When we decided we were ready to start interviewing, I sent out letters to all four couples asking for time availability. Today's victims were the first to respond. Nothing could possibly have been more satisfactory.
We were to meet at 10:30 and I left the house shortly before 9. I encoutered 2 or 3 heavy rain squalls on the way down which slowed me down a bit, and though I knew exactly where I was going, I got off at the wrong offramp and, being kind of turned around, turned the wrong way and went several blocks before I realized my error. Then I had to figure out how to get from where I was to where I was going. I didn't need a GPS. I knew where I was going and I just needed to hit the right connecting street to get there.
Finally, I did and, miraculously, I pulled up at the house at 10:29. Alison had only just arrived. It always amazes me that somehow I manage to allow enough time for getting lost on jaunts like this. Even when I'm traving hundreds of miles and get lost en route, I somehow manage to arrive at my destination within 5 minutes one, way or the other, of the time I said I would probaby get there.
Anyway, it was lovely to see our subjects again and we chit chatted over coffee and did all the requisite oohing and aahing over their new-ish dog, with whom I fell in love. The feeling seemed to be mutual, because when they'd call him to go out of the room he would come back over to me. Must be that eau de dog which is apparently quite hypnotic!
When we got into the meat of the interview itself, it was like riding a bicycle, except this time I had the confidence of ten years of "professional" interviews behind me. Alison was always great at this stuff and I bungled along in our first book. The second book was my story as much as it was the Lamplighters story, since I had been part of the company all those years, so the interviews I conducted weren't so much interviews as they were reminiscing with old friends.
But this time I feel like I'm an interviewer again, only I have better skills and I think Alison and I worked very well together. She has parts of the history that she wants to make sure get covered and I have parts that I want to make sure get covered and a lot of (but not all) toics overlap.
We talked and laughed for about two hours and we got a great start on the structure of our interviews. We learned things we didn't know before and got hints about people we might not have thought to interview.
When we were winding up, we were invited to be treated to lunch. (Note to Alison and me: try to schedule all interviews for 10:30 a.m. and try to look hungry at the end of them!) They got in their car, we got in mine and we drove to a great cafe where we got caught up on whose kid is married to whom and who has how many grandchildren and our views on various political issues.
I need to point out that for the past 24 years, since his death, Gilbert has been my parking angel and has found me parking places no matter where it is that I am driving, even in impossible places (like the middle of Chinatown in San Francisco). They miraculously open up. Well, apparently he has decided to involve himself in the history project. When we drove up to the cafe there was only one parking space open and as we got to it, a car backed out of the space right next to it. Thank you, Gilbert! It was much appreciated!
I had a great corned beef sandwich and 3 of us had apple pie for dessert, only because the last time they were there a complaint had been lodged about the quality of the pie crust. When they saw us walk in, they immediately presented the table with a sample of the new kind of crust, which was pronounced so good that we all had to have an order of pie. It was, in all honesty, the very best apple pie I've ever had in a restaurant. I'm not a big fan of restaurant apple pie, but I'd go back to this place just for the apple pie--and I'm a connoisseur of pie crust.
It had poured rain while we were in the cafe, but had let up a lot when we went back to our cars. They were headed off to do errands, Alison and I went back to the house, where Alison had left her car. Then I headed home listening to my new audio book, Lee Childs' first "Jack Reacher" book. It was every bit as engrossing as Michael Connelly's books and I look forward to working through the 14 books in the series!
So now the task ahead of me is to get our first interview transcribed and to schedule the next one(s). I feel all jazzed for this project now.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
What a GREAT license for a Gilbert & Sullivan enthusiast.