I queried the local newspaper about a week ago. I asked them if they would be interested in doing a short article about Searching for Fire. I didn’t hear anything back for a few days and then, one day last week while I was at work break at the art shop, I was checking my phone inbox and there it was tucked in amid Pottery Barn ads and Powerschool announcements. It was a reply from the local newspaper, a local reporter asking if I would like to meet. I nearly missed the email and right away I responded back to him. He was super courteous.
Eventually we agreed to meet this Monday at lunch time at the newspaper building. I was excited about it and also nervous. I put a reminder on the refrigerator this weekend about the meeting and made a note to myself also at work so I wouldn’t forget. The note read in bold letters, “DON’T FORGET THE MEETING MONDAY!” I even told my husband, “Please make sure I don’t forget the meeting.” I was certain I would, in fact, forget the meeting.
I live in a small town in the Midwest. I’ve lived there almost all my life and pass by the newspaper building daily on my way to drop off the kids for school. Our town has about 20,000 residents and about 10,000 students at the university. The town thrives on the vibrant energy of the college kids and their return to our community each year in August is heralded with much excitement. They bring a youth and a vitality to our town. Without them, there wouldn’t be much news to report.
Again, as I said earlier, I have lived here almost all my life but have only “made the paper” as we call it around here, being mentioned in the newspaper………well, I think I’ve been in the paper maybe 3 times. Once or twice as a high school kid, I might have lucked out at a basketball game and through some miracle of fate managed to get a high scorer mention. My basketball team was really good. We went to state 3 years in basketball and 4 years in volleyball ……..but honestly, it wasn’t because of me. It was true that I was the tallest girl on the court and could rebound very well. But I have astigmatism in my left eye which means my depth perception is way, way, waaaaay off. I was that kid on the court rebounding over and over and then bricking the ball over and over again until the coach, the team, and half the audience groaned in collective frustration. You know that kid. There’s always one of them on a basketball team.
The other time I made the paper was my car accident three years ago which is sorta embarrassing. I dropped off the kids at school and drove to work on one of the side roads. I was about five blocks from my job so after dropping off the kids, I didn’t bother with my seat belt. I figured five blocks at 20 miles per hour….I’d be just fine. I remember smiling and sorta daydreaming as I drove down Elm Street when suddenly something hit the side of my car with tremendous force. One second I was smiling and driving and the next I was on the passenger side of the car on the floor. I didn’t even remember the moment my car plowed into a big oak tree head-on nor the moment my forehead busted the windshield nor the moment my shoulder broke. All I knew in that moment was that I was on the floor of the car. I felt something slide down my forehead. It was wet and it covered my eye. It was blood and then I felt the big knot on my head. It was protruding out almost like an old-time cartoon character head wound……like when Wiley Coyote gets an anvil dropped on his head by Bugs Bunny. I remember my hand was shaking in that moment . I ended up with a massive concussion and a newspaper write-up in the third or fourth page. Moral of the story……always always wear your seatbelt even if you are only going a short distance and at a real low speed.
So this Monday, I remembered the appointment with the reporter. I fixed my hair and makeup that day even. I clocked out at 12:00 noon and headed in my car down the side roads to the newspaper building. But my tummy was grumbling. I was hungry and knew I’d miss lunch for the interview. So I pulled into the only convenient store on the way. I quickly bought a candy bar and a water. I then proceeded to drive down the road to the newspaper building (with my seat belt on, of course). Then something kinda funny happened. I dropped the candy bar accidentally and I instinctively reached to grab it. I brushed the bottle of water with my arm. Then the bottle of water precariously tipped over from the middle console and spilled water all over my lap. I panicked and said, “No! No! No! No!” or some outburst like that and rushed to upend the water bottle but the damage was already done. The lap of my pants was soaked and only two minutes to the interview. I had so wanted to make a really good first impression. I shook my head and mentally said sarcastically, “Oh great, bravo….this is gonna be wonderful.”
So, I walked awkwardly into the newspaper building with wet pants and very certain that I would have to explain myself promptly. Fortunately, the reporter was super gracious and kind and the wet pants situation…..well it turned out to be okay. The interview went really well and the reporter took my jumble of thoughts and ideas and crafted a real nice piece . Here is the interview below:
So anyway, that’s the story of my first ever newspaper interview for the book Searching for Fire. I was nervous about it but it turned out way better than I expected. Upward and onward! And also………thank God for kind-hearted reporters! He took a picture for the paper too but fortunately, it was only waist up.