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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The ultimate meaning of life is to embrace that which compels you to act in spite of fear.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Being Quoted

In my part-time gig as a writer for a community newspaper, I've quoted a number of people. I love it. I enjoy asking questions and getting answers. I love telling stories - whether they be news stories or works of fiction.

But being part of the story is something entirely new to me.

When you're used to selecting quotes and shaping stories, you can't help but feel a little uneasy when you're the one being quoted. Seeing your words in someone else's work for the first time is as strange as it is gratifying.

Recently I did a phone interview with another newspaper reporter. As the interview drew to a close I felt my stomach churning. I wasn't pleased with my answers. I wanted to say:

"Don't use that bit. That was a bad word that doesn't jibe with the spirit of the show's press release. And that other stuff isn't germane to the story; ignore it. What's your hook? And where I am positioned in the piece? You aren't going to screw around with the context, are you? I mean, I wasn't really making fun of those people. Glibness is a bad habit of mine, especially when I get nervous. That's off the record; don't quote me on that. Okay, let's just redo the whole thing. Better yet, just send me a transcript of the interview and I'll sent you my notes..."

Of course, she would've been well within her rights in telling me to go fly a kite. Actually, she seemed very fair and decent. I'm not too worried.

People trust me, so I guess I'll have to trust others.

...Or maybe I just won't answer the phone.

I'm kidding. Mostly...

Update (January 11): I've just obtained the article. It's fine. I worried for nothing.


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