I was asked to help with the Redux blog, and have been writing up interviews with artists.... I've done two so far, but we have to hold one of the profiles back until it's time to publicize a show. Just posted an interview with our Outreach Coordinator, Joshua Breland, and notes on a talk given by our Executive Director, Stacy Huggins.
I knew I'd love the process, but had no idea how much. I have a long list of questions prepared, but so far I've only used two.
It's absolutely lovely and humbling how much people will trust you with. The first profile I wrote (the one we're holding for now) was originally six pages long. I eventually had to curb myself- there was so much there.
I have this little silver recorder that I set down somewhere and then I scribble notes while we talk. It's neat how much actually sticks in your mind- I really only need to reference the recorder for direct quotes. I was surprised by this, because in my waking life, I'm a complete space cowboy.
Such a completely different beast from writing fiction. And sooo wonderful, too, to have someone sitting there and giving you your story, rather than having to make it all up!
Admiring the profiles in New Yorker now more than ever. This, in Nobody's Looking At You: Eileen Fisher and the art of understatement, by Janet Malcolm:
"... Eileen cut in, as we all laughed, perhaps a little too loudly and heartily. I found myself babbling about the ethical dilemmas of journalism, about the risks subjects take when they let journalists into their houses, and the pangs journalists feel when they write their betraying narratives, and saw Eileen and her colleagues looking at me- as I had looked at them when they talked about their company- as if I were saying something weird..."
(Apparently Eileen Fisher has a bad cat, one that's not allowed inside even in bad weather.)
I have learned its better if you don't ask the subject's opinion on the piece before submitting it, though. The first painter I spoke with ended up telling me all this fascinating stuff about his background, and when I later showed him the finished article, naturally, those telling little bits were the sentences he (politely) objected to. Well, oh well.
So, at the end of the last interview, I reiterated at the end: 'so, it's okay if I write about everything we talked about, right?'
We didn't touch on anything sensitive, but I figure I may as well start to lay down useful habits.
This is a wild soul-book