Grandpa and the Truck went ‘live’ this week–across the nation (a fact I didn’t realize at the time.)
This past week, I had a tough gig…a new format for me. Patricia Raskin interviewed me “on air” for her Positive Living series on talk-radio. It went for a full 25 minutes and I gotta say: I found it daunting.
Oh, not at first…not when the tech man called and asked “Are you Colleen Kelly Mellor?” I said “Yes.” Not when I heard all sorts of maneuvering on the other end with sounds of hook-up’s, connects, his asking Patricia to wait a moment….My nerves were mounting.
My mouth began to parch up and get really dry; I needed some water but was afraid a quick gulp would be picked up by a sensitive mike, so I didn’t dare. “Oh, Lord, I thought, what did I get myself into?”
I recall, briefly, asking the tech man if he’d be editing my answers, to which he said: “Oh, no, that won’t be necessary.” He offered, “Just relax…this is really just like a café chat.”
I remember thinking, “Sure, maybe in your world”…I feared locking up in some kind of verbal paralysis, as I had done so many years ago in a high school class when stage fright took over. I tried to deep-breathe without making a sound (very difficult,) and that activity made me more anxious.
Patricia’s first questions prompted answers that were easy enough, but some time into it, I began to feel as if I might be commandeering the ‘exchange.’ I realized I needed to pull back and listen more.
You see, in face-to-face interaction, I take my cue from a person’s body language. I can tell when someone’s interested, feigning it, or God-forbid doesn’t want to hear more, and then I tailor my response. 30 years of teaching and another 8 in the business world gave me this.
In both, one captures attention of the audience or fails the sale.
But in this live interview, I couldn’t see the host.
Then, there was my problem with trying to get as much as I could into the answer in the shortest amount of time. Sometimes Patricia had to drive into my monologue and interrupt, just to ask a question or offer commentary…
Sometimes, I couldn’t even hear her.
Then, she said the thing that really rattled me.
When she asked where our Grandpa and the Truck books were sold, I told her the two RI stores (along with our website,) but mentioned we have them, in another part of the country, as well (we live in Asheville, NC., 5 months of the year.)
That’s when she said: “Go ahead and give the stores’ names…This goes nationally.”
Like a deer in the headlights, I recall thinking: “Did she just say ‘na-tion-al-ly’?” “Did I hear that right.” “There are hundreds of thousands…maybe even millions listening to this program?”
That’s when I thought about all the hhmming and ahhing….the rattling along of inconsequentials (“Why did I say that?”) “Oh, geez, that answer could’ve been a whole lot better.”
I’d wished I’d had a trial run…a practice session so I could get a feel for how this would run, but it was too late….This was “live.”
That’s pretty much when I wanted to die.
I’ve now vowed to get a whole lot better in the “live interview” category, by practicing concise answers but I’ll still add personality. Not too scripted (as if that could happen) but I also don’t want to go far afield…and Lord, I must give my generous interviewer (whoever) more chance to talk…not be so fearful I’ll leave something out.
Know what else this has done for me? Given me a huge sympathy for those poor blokes who vie for the Presidency. They know that every bit of what they say in debates will be ripped apart, analyzed, digested, ridiculed (in some cases,) or touted as proof he can or can’t be President.
I know, too, why they have debate-preparers.
Remember, I’m a novice at this, Now, here’s my interview with the gracious Patricia Raskin of “Positive Living” on Voice America.…But please remember: I’m a novice in doing radio interviews.
And like the President, in the aftermath of his first debate, I promise: I’ll get better….much better.
Now, since you’ve been such a good audience, I share with you these amazing shorts of sound effects done on radio in an earlier day…This is hysterical!
Oh, and where are our books sold? In famous independent bookstore, Malaprops and Mountain Made, in the historical Grove Arcade, in Asheville, NC; in Symposium Books on Main St. East Greenwich, and Twice Told Tales, on Broad St., Cranston, RI (Edgewood section.)
Finally, you can always order them right from us at www.grandpaandthetruck.com).