Tuesday, March 12, 2019
Autism Answer: My Only Excuse For Not Doing The Work Was Fear - My Interview With Mom
I stared at the invitation for possibly thirty seconds while a whirlwind of unexpected hopes and worries blurred my vision.
It was a surprise from several angles.
I had never considered interviewing my mom for, well, for anything. My blog, my YouTube channel, articles I submit for publication, none of them, even though I actively submit the suggestion of an interview with my mom all the time! I research contact info, compose emails, fill out forms, and I'm always thrilled when my interview suggestion is accepted and acted upon. I'm not only thrilled because it's generally a thrill to have a suggestion accepted, but also for my mom who learns more about what she knows by answering questions, for a new audience who will be introduced to her insight and work, and for the interviewer whose questions will be thoughtfully considered and intriguingly answered.
And yet, funnily, until the quick reply from an editor at Women Writers, Women's Books to my interview suggestion turned things around by suggesting I do the interview, I hadn't thought to take that gift for myself.
And now that the invitation was here, I sat in stunned appreciation and explored the previously unknown feelings I had about such a project.
I admit, my first feeling was of having been complimented. This editor - whom I had emailed back and forth with a few times - thought I might have the skill for it! Secondly, I got scared. What if I don't have the skill for it? Dude, I am not a fan of letting people down or exposing their mistaken confidence in me. Thirdly, I hoped I might have the skill for it. A good interview requires several things. An interesting guest, for one. I knew I had that. My mom - like her creative work - is compelling, down-to-earth, inspirational, poetic, clear, inclusive, and candid. But a good interview also requires questions that simultaneously encourage the guest to shine while caring about relevance for the intended audience.
A good interview brings everyone in and, often, guides revelations that change us all in the process.
My respect for a gifted interviewer was seeded for me as an audience member but blossomed when I became a guest. The difference I felt when asked questions by someone who clearly cared for me, themselves, and their audience vs someone merely looking for content blew me away. It has happened for me several times now and, though I always reflect and dig deep for honest answers to interview questions, I am invigorated and surprised by the ones that are careful and relevant. The experience consistently leaves me breathless and aware of myself and my world in new ways.
Did I have the skill for something like that?
This thought led me to a fourth feeling; it would take work. I mean, complimented as I was, I would have to hunker down and consider everyone and do the work. That's a big task when you're afraid you don't have the skill.
But, fifth, what an opportunity! To see if I have the skill, to ask my mom questions, to introduce her to a new audience, to be part of the Women Writers, Women's Books community in this more active way, the only excuse for not doing the work is fear.
What kind of example is that for my sons? My granddaughters?
And so, I did it. I accepted the invitation. I crafted questions I felt brought all of us to the table and would encourage growth, new ideas.
I was nervous sending them to my mom. (She claims to have loved the questions but, you know, she's my mom.)
I was nervous sending them to the editor. (She claims the interview is insightful but, you know, the interviewee is my mom.)
But it was invigorating and fun. It was an opportunity I plan to give myself again soon.
And I was a good example to my sons and my granddaughters. Not that they're watching. Yet, we are all always watching.
I owe a great big dose of gratitude to the editor that offered me the chance to learn all this. Oh, I know she was likely overwhelmed and overworked and unlikely thinking about me or my skills, but isn't that the way so many of us get what we didn't know we wanted? Someone could use our help doing a thing we hope they'll do and suddenly we're doing it together.
And suddenly we're discovering a new skill or interest.
Let's not be shy about accepting new opportunities that match a desire we have or a goal we're after, and let's not be shy about offering them.
We never know when we might be ready for something new.
Read, enjoy, and share my interview with mom here: Interview with Dr. Lynette Louise ("The Brain Broad")
Hugs, smiles, and love!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)
Be sure to check out all of the other interviews, blog posts, and books on the Women Writers, Women's Books website while you're there! My mom wrote this post for them a while back: Writing is my Lifestyle