Wednesday, April 10, 2019
What is not yet visible
I'm heading out of town this afternoon, taking the train to Washington, DC for two days of interviews with my new subject. This book, too, begins with a proposal, which will require me to bring into view the whole arc of her story through the chapter summaries, and evoke the voice of the book through the sample chapter. Then of course there are the other lovely proposal elements, the overview, the target audience, comparative titles, marketing and promotion. For some reason, I'm not as anxious as I usually am, which worries me. It's like that Anna Quindlen observation about her mother, who she said believed that by worrying hard enough about a thing, she could ensure it wouldn't happen. I think I might have a touch of that superstition myself.
This time, though, I'm also excited. My cousin Helen, an intuitive life coach and spiritual therapist who I can say from personal experience really knows what she's doing, once told me that excitement can feel a lot like nervousness. I'd wager there's a mix of the two going on in me right now, as I try not to over prepare while simultaneously worrying about not being adequately prepared. I've been reading everything I can find about my subject, but the first interview, I tend to just to let it go wherever it will, because there is still everything to discover. Still, I will need to offer up an entry point, and I often don't know the right entry till I'm sitting across from the person.
This woman has a fascinating life, especially the early part—the narrative potential is in already in plain view. But I will have to find the personal stories behind the public view of her later life. That part isn't obvious yet. We're meeting in a restaurant tomorrow, which isn't always ideal for taping or for wading into emotional terrain. But for the first meeting, I prefer to let the subject choose the venue. I try to go with the flow, help establish comfort and trust in what is really a very intrusive process. Then maybe we can go from there to figure out better venues for delving deeper and excavating a life.
Yeah, I think I'm definitely excited. But now I have to go and pack, which is always so stressful, I'm not exactly sure why.