Sedge Thomson's West Coast Live, San Francisco's Radio Show to the World!

Sedge Thomson's West Coast Live, San Francisco's Radio Show to the World!

Follow Us  

The Interview

Joyce Carol Oates in the April 2, 2011 show described an interview where two people are paddling together to get somewhere.  We might, I said, be heading toward a whirlpool.  A good interview can be like a dance, with flow and movement and direction.  One wants to avoid the other’s toes.
With either metaphor is the implication of coordinated movement - and no one I think wants to go turtle in our conversation craft.

But what if there is a misstep, some off-footing, and odd locution. How do you find the rhythm again?

I often hear a guest’s rap — it’s been used to answer questions elsewhere, and why not, the answer is good, it drains no real psychic energy to repeat — and try to go in another direction.  Sometimes a guest, knowledgeable in the interviewing arts, will sometimes say in answer to a question, "Well, sometimes people ask me …."  And deftly change course.

So try a question unasked before, or raise an issue that may seem utterly off-topic, but when answered takes the guest by surprise — "I hadn’t thought of that before!" dovetailing with the conscious exposition so cozy and familiar.

That's a moment worth a vin santo you can dip your biscotti in.

© 1996   West Coast Live