Pretend Journalists

When I approach a stranger
to interrupt and ask a simple question
because it's a journalists job to be curious

they embody The Unknown
which is like a late-day viewing
of a hole dug into the earth—

the sunset light slants just so
the shadows hide its depth
how many feet down we might fall.

So when I say, "Hello there,
excuse me do you have a minute or two?"
I'm stepping across the event horizon

not knowing if I'll ever come back
fearing I'll be wholly lost
eaten up by everything unknown.

The simplicity of an exercise, like the faux interviews we did with each other, can obscure how real the self-reflective feelings are that it invokes. When I stepped up to play the role of journalist, with the pressure on me rather than on Stephanie, I fumbled with my words and became uneasy in my performance. I had unfounded confidence before, and left with a more real picture of where I lack. It's what's so great about simple exercises: your own faults and gaps become that much more clear to yourself.

Preparing myself would be a boon to the composure I could bring to a spontaneous interview, but people are unpredictable. No amount of preparation can predict human conversation. The only answer is to put myself into darkness of The Unknown, to step into a conversation with willingness and prior acceptance of the mistakes I know I'll make.

It's humbling to think through the progress I need to make to fall to even the lowest standards of the skillsets that a journalist needs to have to be hired.