Fork in the road…

February 17, 2008 § Leave a comment

More than a week ago, I drove 20 miles in the snowy dark to interview a designer about her kitchen. The entire house was charming but that was beside the point. I was looking to hit a target for an editor and continually asked questions leading  the interviewee to that target. I wanted this kitchen to fit the bill, I wanted to hit the editor’s nail on the head. I could do it; this kitchen just might fit, might suit, just might be the one.

I drove away thinking about it, conjuring leads, imagining how, with some incredible writing, this particular kitchen would “work.” I sshhed the niggling “no” in my head – no, it wasn’t quite what was in mind.

I wrote the article and left it to simmer. I had several days to work it. It was good, had advice, had tips, had life in it because the designer I interviewed tells great stories and has such positive energy.

Lunching with Hippy, a writing colleague on Friday, we talked about what we were working on. She had a jumpy schedule of local political and construction pieces.  I had my corporate day job and an article on interior design.

“Really? What’s it about?”

I told her. She was interested partly because we each write about such different things.

I asked her what she thought of my fitting a round peg into a square hole in terms of the kitchen I had seen and the topic it should fulfill.

“Hmmmm….” she said.

That’s the thing with Hippy. She knows her stuff. She’s fun, she’s open-minded. But she knows her stuff, and her writing.

“So, what do you think? Can I make it work?”

“I dunno,” she said.

“Do you know anyone with the kitchen I’m looking for? I’ve called everybody and turned up only the one in Frenchtown.”

“Well, no. Don’t worry about it. Write your story.” Hippy also knows what it means to honor deadlines and do your level best and get it handed in and then go from there.

Driving away, I was concerned. I didn’t want to screw this piece up. Even though I’ve often said editors aren’t sure what they want ’til you hand it in, I had a gut feeling here. The piece lying on my desk at home could disappoint.

My cell phone rang. It was a friend in Mwood. After discussing a project she was involved in, I asked, total non-sequitor style, about her kitchen.

“Oh, yes, everyone comments on it being retro,” she said.

I nearly drove off the road in my excitement.

“I have to see you. I have to interview you.”

“Sure. Come on over. I’d love to see you. ”

So I went to her house. 48 hours before deadline.  (Mwood’s is the interview I wrote about in my prior blog.)

I have a perfectly good article already written. Sitting there. Waiting to be handed in.

Or, I can write Mwood’s story. One that will “fly” according to editorial dream. And the pictures of it will be fantastic. I know.

Sigh. 

Yeah, I know the answer.

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