Tuesday, March 17, 2015

On Being Interviewed

Unity minister, Maggie Oman Shannon has an interesting radio show that airs at 4 p.m. (Pacific) each Wednesday.  (Go to Unity.fm for a whole schedule of interesting programming). On March 18th you can hear my interview with Maggie.
    The preparation for an interview is pretty interesting. Some part of me felt that I should reread something or do some kind of homework. I listened to Maggie's other interviews, and even answered for myself some of the questions she asked the other guest. I went to my copy of Freeing the Creative Spirit, knowing she'd ask something about it. Going through the pages, I realized how well I still knew that material and the layout of the subjects covered. I was glad to see that I still felt good about something I'd written in the 1990's.
    Putting away all the other research possibilities, I came to realize that I am the subject, and I've been researching me my entire life. Creativity and the pursuit of an artful life is no longer a separate topic. I realized that habit in me to prepare, and at least in this case, living my life was all the homework I needed to do. That realization gave me a warm sense of integrity, in the sense that everything is integrated. What I do is a dynamic of who I am. Who I am is at the root of the work I do.
     Being interviewed is a very educational thing. I recommend it for everyone.
     I suggest setting up a series of interviews that you do, in a kind of Round Robin, with your friends. Each of you is responsible for your questions, so no one knows exactly what questions will come at you. Be mindful of the whole process. Write down your reflections of how it felt to be the interviewer. What did you learn? How did it feel. Then write your reflections about being interviewed. Were there any surprises?
     Hope you listen to my interview. Even if you miss it on the 18th, it is available on the website.
I'd love to hear responses to the interview and to the Round Robin, or however you design your personal interviews.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Short Short Story

As this is National Women's Month, and I started Women Write Now! to strengthen the voices of women where I live, it is my pleasure to post here a short short story by Ms. Kaye Williams, a member of my writing circle.

Dapper Cat
by Kaye Williams
(c) 2015

      James’ first job in Chicago was as a maintenance man for the housing authority, he was assigned to a building on West Lake Street, an apartment for him and Naomi, his wife, came with the position. They were both gamblers, James liked dominos and Naomi preferred black jack.  Soon after moving in, they began inviting their neighbors over for gambling parties.

     People started showing up to their small, cluttered and dusty apartment after work on Fridays.  Most everyone was from Mississippi, they all talked and laughed loudly, mostly about an ole mule and the girl or the guy they left behind when they jumped on the train bound for Chicago.  They also spoke regularly about the house they grew up in, where they heard gospel songs hummed throughout the day and at night they listened to the tunes of bluesmen such as Muddy Waters. Both sounds found their way to Chicago, it was the Mississippi blues that was always playing at James and Naomi’s casino parties.
     Among the regulars were Doris and Lindsey.  Doris, a beauty queen in her own right, had the looks to be a cover girl on a widely circulated fashion magazine.  Her shoulder length light brown hair was always freshly pressed and tightly curled. Her clothes flattered her, she wore see through blouses with a lace slip and bra clearly visible underneath, and a nice dark skirt, all ways worn much shorter than a church going woman.  She carried herself as though she was available, even asking for it, which is why she showed up at James and Naomi’s.  Lindsey, James’ nephew, always brought the same girl with him. They crammed into the high back chair in the corner, allowing the casino activity to go on without them.
     One Friday night, a tall, thin, dapper “cat” strolled in, capturing everyone’s attention instantly.  An obvious silence came quickly upon the apartment, as Chester, made his way through the small crowd of new friends.  Wearing a fedora, tipped to the right, he stood still once he reached the table.
     James took control of the game, ordered his friend, Eddie, up from the table and motioned for Chester to sit down.  Chester placed his hat on the table before taking the seat.  The regulars knew the scheme as James dealt from a deck that he kept in a drawer next to the table.  The pace picked up, the normal chatter resumed.  Chester recognized that everyone was suspicious of him, his palms started to sweat.  He abruptly asked for a quick bathroom break.  This was an old trick, James along with everyone else at the table had pulled this one before.  They all pulled their guns and followed Chester.   Chester grabbed the bathroom door, opening it, took two steps in and in a single motion, raised the window and jumped.

     The game was over, James claimed the hat as his own, and they all spent the next several hours laughing, to the break of day!