This morning, a producer from BBC Radio 4 emailed me to ask if I wanted to talk on her international immensely popular radio station about a topic I wrote 400 words on, in an article about a year ago. I’d be given an hour to prepare to debate a person who’d written an entire book on the subject (Faberge Eggs).
I did NOT want.
But hells bells, it’s the BEEB!!!
But I….I have a weird voice! I talk fast and mushed. I don’t have a Skype and if I did have a Skype where could I put the computer so the background didn’t show all the load-bearing debris piles that hold up our home? And also I look funny. And oh yeah, also, I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT FABERGE EGGS. At least not BBC world news standards.
So…I just went...full-on Therese on them.
“OMYGOD You sound so BRITISH!!! You talk that pretty all the time? No, I don’t have a Skype. I hate Skype. Why do you want to look at me? You know I’ve only been writing professional a year so if I sound non-professional…THAT’S WHY! HA HA HA!!! Oh hey my son’s watching Kipper the Dog right now as we speak. That’s British, too!”
And so on, and so on. Eventually with gentle British tact the producer lady called and told me they’d decided…just to have the man with the book on the show. Because it wasn’t fair really to pit me against someone so educated on the matter.
And I said, “Oh thank god.”
I was willing to do it, friends. I felt real fear. I wasn’t ready for this. My stomach was in my feet, my child was half naked and warbling behind me, I didn’t know how to make a Skype. But I was going to set it all right in an hours time and pretend to be an expert on international radio. I once gave a wedding toast. That is the extent of my public speaking.
Gus had taken a long lunch when I’d called him in a panic, babbling all the things I’ve written. I was on the floor when he came in, letting the truly needed tranquilizers soak into my blood while the boy bounced on my stomach like it was one of those hoppity balls. Did I tell you I accidentally locked the boy in the house this morning? Well that’s another story. It’s been a day. But Gus had stopped to get me beef jerky and bear claws on the way home. Good man.
I told the producer lady, “I’ve gained so much from this half hour.” And I had. I learned that in this career I’ve chosen, people have access to your brain, and it isn’t always on your terms if you want the exposure they’d give you. People can leap across the ocean directly into your living room and terrify you. And it’s what is SUPPOSED to happen.
I told her, “Thank you so much for contacting me and terrifying me one step closer to true professionalism.” And…pardon my secrecy, the producer told me she was interested in a different project I’m connected with, and to contact her if it proceeds as planned. So, I’ll be back, BBC. Polished and suave and balancing my computer like it was a prop in the Cirque du Soliel so my double chin is minimized. Just wait.