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Curling Up To An Interview
by Willma Willis Gore
A number of years ago, I moved to a small mountain community where
my little family, years before, had hiked and enjoyed the great
outdoors. The community I left had an active writer workshop that
I had belonged to for years. I searched the local weekly of the
new town for an announcement of a group that I might join. Finding
a write up about the next week's meeting of ByLiners, I inquired.
Within a month I was a member and seeking any opportunity to write
that would bring in a few dollars,
Browsing the Family Life section of the metropolitan daily that
brought the outside world to my little Crestline home, I read a
write-up about a local family in which all members helped with the
family business, including the five-year-old who was the "wastebasket
engineer." At the close of the approximately 1000-word piece
was a question in italics. Do you know an interesting family to
profile for our Family Life Page? On inquiry, I learned that the
pay was $50 for the interview and another $15 for the photo. And
the column was published once a week. I was no stranger to using
a camera as I'd always illustrated my published the travel pieces.
I discussed this opportunity with one of the ByLiners who suggested
I interview her friends, the Andersons, who would be ideal subjects
because all members participated in making handcrafts for sale.
I queried the Family Page editor and got a go-ahead. The Andersons
were agreeable, and we set a date for the interview.
Camera and notebook in hand, I checked my image in the mirror before
leaving for the appointment. One lock of hair turned up in a stubborn
flip. I dampened a pink Velcro curler and rolled the wisp against
my head, turning my ring around as a reminder to remove curler and
.comb before meeting my interviewees.
I prided myself on being on-time for all appointments and had allowed
extra time to find the Andersons in a section of the community strange
to me. The street numbers descended in order but the Anderson's
townhouse number did not appear. I called Amy from a public phone.
She apologized. Their residence was inside a large development with
individual numbers. When I finally found the Anderson home, I was
15 minutes late, agitated and embarrassed.
A young girl of about eight answered the door. (I attributed her
wide eyes to the fact that this was probably the first time she
had been interviewed by "a writer.") She led me to the
living room where the rest of the family waited. They answered my
questions with rapt attention, seven pairs of eyes never leaving
my face. They displayed a table of straw dolls, stuffed animals,
and hand-painted soap dishes. Since the paper would use only one
photo, I assembled all members behind the display table, taking
several shots to make sure I got one with the maximum of animated
I did not use glasses for taking notes but after shooting photos,
I needed to double-check my typed list of interview questions. Pulling
glasses from my purse, I reached up to loop the supporting necklace
over my head. The back of my hand brushed the Velcro lump in my
Laughing-what else could I do?-I pulled the curler from my hair
and dropped it into my bag. The Anderson family joined me with relieved
chuckles. The profile was published the next week, launching my
"profiling" career that totaled 65 families within the
two years before I moved again.
Will I "curl up" to another interview? Maybe. Remembering
how a single curler, long ago, held the attention of seven people
for an hour, I'm thinking that a head covered in pink curlers could
be effective when I speak to my next career-search class of sixteen-year-olds
about "Good Interviewing Techniques."
© Copyright 2008, Willma Willis Gore
At age 87, Willma Gore is still writing daily (having sold her first article
at age 19) with her most recent book Long
Distance Grandparenting, released by an advance/royalty publisher in
Nov. 2007. She welcomes visits to her blog and website: http://willmagore.com/blog/
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