Friday, January 4, 2008
OTHER SIDE OF THE FENCE
People are getting in touch with me, and with my publicists, because they want to interview me when my memoir, Hats and Eyeglasses, comes out. This is good news, as I worried that no one would even notice when it got published. But Shanta Small and Jen Levy at Tarcher/Penguin are doing a great job and now people are calling and emailing and saying things like, "I can't wait to sit down with you for an interview."
For someone like me, who has spent years behind the tape recorder asking the questions, this is a very scary proposition. Joan Didion said it best (and I paraphrase here), when she remarked that anytime a writer is in the room, it is not to your advantage.
And knowing what I know, which is that I used to do anything I could to make my subjects talk--- well, I'm getting nervous.
I'll give you some examples--- when I interviewed Leonardo DiCaprio, he was a nineteen year old who admitted that he had never had a girlfriend. I told him how I taught myself to French kiss by making a fist and sticking my tongue in between my thumb and pointer finger. I actually showed him my technique, and then he told me the greatest story about his first date and how the girl ate a roast beef sandwich and it creeped him out and he couldn't kiss her. People talked about that interview for years.
Once I told Jeff Bridges this story that I had never told anyone outside my family, about my "cousins" (really children of my parent's friends who I was really close with), and how they all became drug dealers and bookmakers. The next day I went out for dinner with Bridges and his agent, and the agent said something about my degenerate family. I yelled and carried on, and Bridges wound up taking me out again the next night to apologize. I wrote about all of it, and it was one of my most successful stories.
So what's going to stop me from saying things I shouldn't? I don't have a great filter on my brain, and although Hats & Eyeglasses is very revealing about certain things, I'd like to believe that there are other things that I would keep private. I'd REALLY like to believe that. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Posted by Martha Frankel at 12:52 PM