Thursday, July 12, 2012

Flying High

I don't know how anyone has a single thought on an airplane full of stale air. My mind can't breath, my body can't sleep. I revisit my flaws. I'm good at reviewing flaws and some how air travel surrounded by my fellow Americans who seem slightly alien to me makes me feel cut off. I have no Internet, I'm somewhere over the Pacific, I am cut off!

In sixth grade for PE class, I was randomly assigned to a group for a sports project. The other girls were older ( eighth graders). Each group developed their own project. I proposed the Phil O'Donohue show as a format. I became the newscaster and the older girls were female athletes-- the swimmer, Diana Nyad and the tennis player, Billy Jean King. I loved the experience, but dismissed it as a career option.

In high school I did photography for my high school yearbook. The best moment was coming out of the dark room hours after school on the day my grandmother had flown from the States to Spain oblivious of everything but the magic of making images appear on paper. My mother was not thrilled. I think she thought I was up to no good.

Yesterday I interviewed three people for my first possible job as a writer. I was better prepared in sixth grade.

My husband saved the first interview. He interviews people everyday in his job. I just wrote. I had not put my head into the idea that I was getting a chance to do something that I had once longed to do. I think it was that whole packing up my life in Kamakura thing, saying goodbye to friends who had saved me regularly for five years, and cleaning out the house though truthfully I never got out of the kitchen. It all distracted me from really thinking about doing an actual interview let alone three.

Days before I'm to leave Japan, I'm asked if I'm interested in interviewing a couple in Japan for an alumni magazine. I'm interested, but I'm on a deadline with more than a few balls in the air.

I go with my usual approach: clear obstacles; think with your heart; and trust that it will come together.

Except I've got two kids in tow, except my husband is on an airplane in the sky overhead and can't rescue my interview this time, except I'm on the nineteenth floor of a skyscraper starring at a newsroom that feeds information out to the world interviewing a reporter who has been in the business for twenty years, and I'm wondering, Do I take a picture? Can I write that down? Is it ok to make notes and walk? How do you do this?

I had pitched a story. The editor is interested, but hasn't committed. The subject is willing, but I'm in a fog of uncertainty- is it a go? Is it just for personal curiosity?

It's a new idea to me to be out in the field. My kids are with me. They are eating ice cream and cake at four thirty in the afternoon and I'm grateful they are occupied. Not exactly ace reporter or mother extraordinaire. I was aiming for story writer, but sometimes you have to go out to get the story. My stories mostly come to me at home, plus I'm leaving Japan, my head is in a serious swirl.

My subject has to return to the office. I get that. I check my widget. I actually have another engagement tentatively planned. I feel like Lois Lane momentarily. I'm thirty minutes from the meeting point in a strange concrete park full of weird walkways and bridges that are not interactive. My children spring from the bathrooms and leap over water obstacles. The lure is a taxi. They return to me to avoid a long painful hike to a subway, not knowing the taxi is really because I'm out of time. We return in time for meeting three which is more curiosity than plan on my part.

Turns out, I'm a business meeting for her. I give some suggestions on connecting with the crafting expat community in Japan. She tells me to look for magazine work.

It's a surreal day. Now I'm thousands of feet in the air myself with a kid sleeping on each side of me. The Hunger Games is the inflight movie which I'm sure would weird my children out so I'm glad they are asleep. We have two more flights to catch.

I'm stewing about how to write the story I pitched. Is it real, is it a tangible job? I have to write it anyway I decide. It's my credibility on the line with those I asked for of their time. It's a good story and all good stories find their way, but I'm feeling like an amateur in light of my awkwardness.

As a creator I haven't found a way to make money on what takes a great deal of time, writing and ideas. However, I'm compelled to write almost daily even up here in a vacuum packed sky bus.

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