"I feel that luck is preparation meeting opportunity." – Oprah Winfrey
I am happy to be a published author. Yet I don’t feel the act of being published qualifies me as an expert on writing or in any other field. I feel like it simply makes me one of the lucky ones.
The reason I bring this up is that I recently ran across an old email request for a radio interview. I like doing radio interviews from my home, but this one I turned down. I don’t know if it was a good decision or bad; at this point it no longer matters. What’s done is done. But, I can’t help thinking about it all over again.
Here’s the deal. I was offered the opportunity to be part of a three person radio panel. I assumed (assuming always gets me into trouble) it was to discuss something to do with The Ride, writing or with books in general. I don’t feel like you have to be an expert to contribute your personal thoughts and views so I was okay with participating. In fact, I was flattered to have been asked.
A few days before the interview I received more information. The topic was not to be about my book or any aspect of writing. The topic was addiction, depression and recovery. The host was a clinical psychologist. The other panelist had opened a mental health facility and had written a nonfiction book about recovery.
The questions to be discussed included: If you were to set public policy on improving care what recommendations would you present? How would you convince the government to spend money on treatment programs when we are going through one of the most difficult economic times?
Alarm bells sounded. I was supposed to be the third panelist? Me, a writer of fiction? My qualifications: I created a character and labeled her as depressed with low self-esteem.
What could I contribute to this discussion? My character didn’t turn to a professional health care worker for assistance. Instead, she dealt with her problems with the help of chocolate, wine and a vivid imagination. These ineffective techniques, I felt sure, were not what the radio host wanted to hear.
I have never figured out why I was asked. Perhaps they had me confused with some other Jane Kennedy Sutton. Or, maybe when the radio host read my book (if he actually did), he missed the fact it was a novel. Possibly he assumed it was based on my life so I could add the experience of one who’s been there, done that.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Well, except… I do like wine and chocolate. Oh…and I do have a vivid imagination. Wait—this isn’t sounding good, is it?
Though I have an occasional down day and I’m currently suffering from “unseasonal” affective disorder as something evil has sabotaged the normally 75 degree sunny days we have this time of year (yes, I realize the rest of the country is worse off, but it doesn’t keep me from whining), ninety-nine-point-nine percent of the time I am far from depressed.
Out of curiosity, I tried to find the show and listen to see how it turned out, but I guess the station had cleaned out their archives. If I had received the offer this year, instead of last when I was such a newbie in the world of the published, maybe I would have gone through with it just to see if imagination can hold its own against qualifications.
Have you ever turned down an interview/panel? Why? Have you ever participated in a discussion you knew nothing about?
Thanks for stopping by.
Tags: Oprah, The Ride, depression, self-esteem,