Friday, August 12, 2011

Listen Up

Much of my job is spent sitting at a big, wooden desk in my home office, pacing around the house, lying on the couch and standing on the front porch staring into the middle distance. There are phone interviews and dealing with the children, but there is no office small talk around a water cooler. There is no water cooler. And neither is there office politics or mandatory birthday parties for strangers who work in Accounting. There is no leaning over the cubicle wall to ask my office mate if he wants to go to the Olive Garden for lunch today. There is no cubicle wall.

Much of the day, there is silence - sweet, sweet silence. At times, though, the silence is too much even for me and that's where the other facet of my job comes in: the sit-down interview. I enjoy this part of work because I ask strangers all kinds of questions and am afforded the opportunity to get to know someone for a brief time. I rarely sit down with a list of questions, I'm more of a conversational interviewer and these people don't even know that it's because I spend whole days - weeks, sometimes - alone and am just looking to talk.

Recently, the tables were turned and I sat down across that table from Ed Arnold for his People I Know podcast. This is a great concept where Ed asks people - people he knows (this "knowing" may only be through Facebook or Twitter, but that's the world we live in) what makes them tick, why they do what they do and what they love.

It was a lot of fun. We just struck up a conversation over cocktails one Monday evening at Le Chardonnay in Midtown. The waitress (a friend of Ed's, I can't recall her name) was great, as was Jackie Ellison of Itchy Shutter Finger who documented it all on camera. Thanks to all of them.

So, if you've got 37 minutes to spare, give it a listen. And, while you're at it, give some other episodes a listen, I am in great company with well-known Memphians such as Mo Alexander, Lindsey Turner, Steve Ross, Brent Diggs and Bill Perry.

People I Know