A friend of mine is a producer on a radio show, and he got me onto its list of ‘freelancers,’ which means that every week I get a theme sent to me and am asked to write in with a pitch if I have a story to tell that fits the theme. These themes range from ‘household chores’ to ‘renewal of faith’ to ‘walking’ to ‘hidden talents.’
Every time, I wrack my brain for interesting stories, but I haven’t come up with anything yet.
A similar experience happened last year when, in a radio class, us students had to pair up and interview each other on any topic whatsoever. We were just to pick something interesting that happened in each other’s lives – the most interesting thing.
I interviewed my friend Julia Sisler about her canoe trips up into Northern Canada. It was a three-minute interview, so I focused on her first trips: as a little girl, playing with her sister in the boat as her dad paddled remote northern rivers.
But when it was Julia’s turn to interview me, I had to ask myself, what have I done that’s interesting? I came up with my time volunteering on organic farms in Europe. I ended up at a spiritual retreat centre/agritourism farm where the 20 or so permanent dwellers there existed in three-way relationships and believe the apocalypse is coming in 2012 (they are building their home in the mountains to get ready). They were actually quite nice people.
But this seemingly crazy place also makes for a great story.
In the same way, when I heard former state senator Jeff Smith interviewed on Q this morning about his time in prison, I was wrapped up in it. He talked about all these drug dealers asking him to find them pen pals – and pen pas would turn into crushes, women whom they then would hope they could be with when they got out of prison. Smith found hardened criminals all longing for intimacy. I doubt Smith would ever have chosen to go to prison, but it turned into such a great story.
Basically, I hope to have more adventures – unusual experiences.
“Thus Sir Lancelot rested him long with play and game, and then he thought to prove himself in strange adventures, and bade his nephew, Sir Lionel, for to make him ready, ‘for we must go seek adventures.'”
–Malory, Le Morte Darthur
And then, on a completely different note, I really enjoyed stumbling across Nicole Baute’s writer’s blog today. I had to read her master’s research project for a class last year – a 40 page print article on the troubles wrought by a closing chocolate factory in Smith’s Falls. Turns out she ended up at the Toronto Star for three years, then became a freelance writer so she could focus on fiction writing.