Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Abort, Retry, Fail

This morning I was interviewed for the local Capital Public Radio NPR program Insight, with Beth Ruyak. Since they had me drive into the studio this time for an in-person talk, that meant I had ample time on the 90-minute drive back home to reflect upon the many ways in which I sounded like a complete dork.

Instead of (or in addition to) thinking about how awesome it was that they invited me back, or how much less nervous I sounded than the last time I was on the radio, or even how cool it was that I just had 15 minutes MORE of fame, thus totaling approximately an hour of radio time in total, I spent most of the drive dissecting what I could have done better. Because THAT'S JUST ME! A barrel of laughs!

So, problem #1: the sound of my voice. In the green room beforehand, chatting with the guest who was to appear before me; talking to the producer of the show, Ellen; even meeting Beth Ruyak before the show for a few minutes--I sounded PERFECTLY NORMAL. Professional, even. Then, the minute I was sitting in front of the mic and had to talk--my first words, I believe, were "Hi, Beth!"--suddenly a frog appeared in my throat out of nowhere, as if by magic, and I was talking around a mucus impediment. LOVELY.

I should note, however, that I sounded just fine (in my own head, anyway...) when I read a passage from the book. Having been complimented on my reading during the book launch last week, I felt relatively confident that that part, at least, I could manage. And I think I did. However:

Problem #2: As I mentioned above, I did sound less nervous this time--and I'm happy to say, I didn't have that problem I had before of suddenly blanking out on what the host asked me while in the middle of a long-winded answer, thus forcing me to babble on until I reached a conclusion of some sort. But I did experience a similar mind-blankening panic issue: several times, I would be in the middle of my long-winded answer and then forget what in tarnation *I* had been saying and what my point was supposed to be.

The way I see it, there are a few possible solutions to this problem, all of which I found myself using today, and which I have likened to 1980s-era computer lingo for your amusement:
  1. ABORT! ABORT! Finish my sentence and rely on the host to finesse the transition if I stopped making sense.
  2. RETRY! Keep on blathering in the hope that I will remember what my initial point was and be able to bring it around to a reasonably coherent conclusion.
  3. FAIL! Trail off mid-sentence and mid-thought and look pleadingly at the host, while mentally banging head against the desk.
Fortunately, I *do* get a retry, an actual one--the host seemed potentially interested in inviting me back when I have a new book (yay!), and also, I have a chance to redeem myself with another radio appearance tonight, this one for Write On Radio, a program at KFAI Minneapolis. Wish me luck...