Saturday, May 3, 2008


About two weeks ago, I was contacted by the Associated Press to be interviewed about the vegetable garden in my condo. Yeah, I know.

They found me via Kitchen Gardeners International. KGI has been getting a lot of publicity lately. It's really a terrific group, full of passionate and very knowledgeable people. I love it in there- though, truthfully, it can be a bit intimidating, too. I'm relatively new at this. A lot of them are gardening lifers, gardening professionals, and all-around well-read, plain-old brilliant folks. And I'm just smart enough to know I'm not that smart.

Ok, so the AP is doing a story on folks who vegetable garden in apartments. I'm one of only a handful of gardeners on the site who grows food in containers, so a reporter in DC contacted me through the site.

Can I just say it's been a totally nerve-wracking experience? Not due to the reporters and the photographer- good guys, all. I'm afraid it's all due to my own ridiculousness.

I suffer from pretty brutal stage-fright. My mind goes as blank as a sheet if I have to speak extemporaneously, even about a subject I know inside and out. It takes me some time to get over this with new people, and especially in a group setting. Everything I say comes out with long pauses, a whole lot of stammering, less than stellar word choices, and sentences that don't make much sense. It's torture for me, and probably not all that easy on the other party. It seems to be getting worse with age, too.

Well, that's pretty much what happened yesterday.

At first, I was just going to be part of the written story. But after an editor heard about the house rabbits and worms and how it all works together, he wanted to do an audio-visual slide show to accompany the written piece.

I think I did moderately ok with the written interview. It was over the phone; it was conversational and as comfortable as it could be. I still couldn't think of words, but the reporter was kind enough to help me fill in the blanks. But wow, I'm really despairing over the audio interview from yesterday.

Because they need clean, wide sections of just me speaking for the voice-over accompaniment, the reporter would ask me a question and I would just-- go. I never really knew when to stop, I decidedly could not think of words, sentences were completely mangled, I spluttered through nearly all of it. There was no start or finish, no beautiful arc. Everything I ever knew flew out of my head via my ear-holes. It was awful. I dreamed about it last night. Though I didn't sleep much.

I fear I'll come off as an idiot of sizable proportions. I just hope it can be made to sound better through the magic of digital editing. Gah. Please, please, Mr. Audio Editor, be kind.


Rabbits' Guy said...

Wow - this is great! and Hey, Cheer up .. you ARE an idiot. I have always treated your blog as the Idiots Guide to Homesteading in a Condo you know. Heck , we're all idiots. Way better than being meanies.

You best find a way to get to become a dandy speaker, you will be in great demand. People love to listen to people doing really strange things!

I suggest setting up a vid-cam and then do a talk to it and play it back and critique yourself. Or join Toastmasters ... they'll LOVE to hear your tales!!!

You will keep us tuned to when we can see/hear this event, right???

And remember us when you are famous ...

DK & The Fluffies said...

Congratulations! Binkies all around.

Verde said...

Oh dear, that's why they edit. A few are naturally gifted speakers, some have a life time of experience so it comes across easily and for the rest of us it practice and doing it.

They'll make you look great and I hope you post a link here when it comes out so we can all see!

Robbyn said...

well I'd love to see/hear that interview, and the more "real" it is, I think the more normal folks who're trying things out for the first time will be able to relate...sometimes it's those "perfected geniuses" who get interviewed, and are interesting yes, but seem to have it so together that there's no hope for us first-timers to do anything but gawk and despair ;-)

You're engaging, and the thing I know that will have come through is your sincerity and what you've tried to begin doing. Such fun :) Can't wait to see how it turned out! (Where can we see/hear a copy?)

The Barber Bunch said...

How cool is that!


ilex said...

You guys rock. Thanks so much for the support; I really needed it.
If they wanted real, they got real nervous. May the editing gods smile down upon me.

Rabbit Saint, I actually joined Toastmasters a couple of months ago to help me over this. Funny, huh? So far, I do fine with the prepared speeches, but off-the-cuff exercizes make me want to burst into tears.

The deadline on the piece is Wednesday, and the audio interviewer said he'll let me know when it's out on the wire.

Ian said...

In a previous life I was that audio engineer and believe me - you will have done superbly. Everyone looks back and thinks they were awful. Sometimes people would be so upset after a recording I'd have to play it back - unedited - just to prove that it really wasn't that bad. And you have the one big advantage - no matter what you say - you can string a sentence together and make sense. It'll be great and I doubt the audio editor will be sleepless with worry!

L.Bo Marie said...

I'm sure you did awesome!
And, it's true, the editors and techs can do amazing things... you will sound confident (which, I'm sure you did sound in real life, dispite how you feel you did) and smart... which you are.
so combine all that.. one brilliant expose on life in a condo... homesteading style.

Yellow said...

I love being an idiot, it explains away a multitude of sins, and makes me look amazing when I do manage to pull something off. Anyway, as the mother in law once said to me, experts - an ex is a has-been, and a spurt is only a drip under pressure.