Saturday, May 14, 2011

“Geauga Tel Interview”

c. 2011 Rod Ice
All rights reserved

The television studio was bright with artificial illumination. I squirmed in my chair as pre-broadcast preparations were made. The crew frantically adjusted, taped, twisted, and tested every piece of equipment until a proper technological balance was achieved. Then, the program director shouted for attention.

“Ready to go on air!” he bellowed. “Ready in four, three, two, one… we are live!”

The host looked up at her camera as if she was receiving an epiphany.

“Welcome to ‘Wordsmith Watch’ on Geauga Tel!” she purred. “I’m your humble host, Sandra Seale.”

The audience applauded politely.

“This week,” she continued, “we are pleased to have local author Rod Ice as our guest. Mr. Ice has been a fixture in the local Geauga County Maple Leaf for over thirteen years. Let’s give him a warm welcome to the show!”

More applause resounded.

“Rod, tell us about your writing adventure,” she asked.

“Adventure?” I stammered.

“Yes indeed,” she said with encouragement. “Your personal odyssey. The struggle of your soul to find liberation…”

My face reddened. “Uhmm, well, it hasn’t been a struggle, really. I began to write professionally with the hope of selling stories to some of my favorite motorcycle magazines. That was twenty-nine years ago.”

“Really?” she gasped. “Motorcycle magazines?”

“That’s right,” I said, shyly.

Seale smoothed her silk blouse. “An interesting point of entry into the world of wordsmithing. Yet from that beginning you have polished your craft.”

“Something like that,” I replied.

“Now, you hope to follow in the famed footsteps of George Bernard Shaw, and Ernest Hemingway…” she cooed.

“Nah,” I said, plainly. “More like those of Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko.”

“Oh my!” she squawked. “Well… wouldn’t you like to be considered a great writer if it were possible?”

“Not really,” I mumbled.

“No?” she exploded with disbelief. “Isn’t that a bit odd for a professional?”

My stomach began to hurt. “I don’t look at it that way. I’m not seeking accolades or awards. Just everyday readers.”

“How interesting!” she hissed with a smirk.

“From the beginning, my column had a simple mission,” I explained. “It needed to be readable for everyone in the family. My brother is a truck driver, but my grandfather was a college professor. So that meant speaking to a diverse audience.”

Seale shook her head. “An impossible task, I’d guess…”

“Not at all,” I disagreed. “My work has meandered at bit, like a stream in the woods. But everything comes from the heart.”

“From the heart,” she laughed. “A hackneyed phrase, but true in your case?”

I nodded, silently.

“In addition to the newspaper column, you’ve written books?” she said.

“Yes,” I answered. “Three of them. Each provided a unique learning experience.”

“Really?” she said. “How so?”

My eyes narrowed. “I learned the art of editing and publishing a full-length manuscript. And I learned how difficult it can be to sell books on the open market. Especially in the midst of global economic chaos.”

The audience chortled and chuckled to themselves.

“So, what ideas do you have for the future?” she wondered aloud.

The question made me pause. “I’ve done a mock-up cover for the second ‘Thoughts At Large’ collection. It features a package of bologna on a dinner plate, with a knife and fork.”

“DON’T GO THERE!” she screeched, suddenly losing her librarian sensitivity. “I mean… well… surely there must be something more appropriate for the cover of your next volume, Rod.”

“Maybe,” I agreed. “We’ll see how it develops as I get everything together. Instead, I might do a book with California guitarist Davie Allan. I’ve written about him frequently, over the years.”

Seale took off her glasses. “In closing, Rod, many people in my audience want to know about the characters in your column. Are they real people? Or not?”

I rubbed my eyes. “Some, like Carrie Hamglaze, are inspired by friends in the area. Others, like Ezekiel and Lemuel Byler-Gregg, are completely fictional. They serve my needs as a writer.”

“So, one shouldn’t take ‘Thoughts At Large’ literally?” she pondered. “Is what you write true? Or only a fantasy?”

My response only increased her confusion. “As Doctor Who once observed – ‘Everything I say is true. Especially the lies.’”

The audience broke into wild applause.

“This has been ‘Wordsmith Watch’ on Geauga Tel,” she concluded. “I’m your host Sandra Seale, wishing you health and happiness! Goodnight, everyone!”

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