Compliments about stories I’ve written make me feel kind of awkward.
No, this is not my feeble attempt at humility. Because, believe me – my ego will bask in any praise thrown my way.In reality, I feel the commendation is misdirected. There wouldn’t be a compelling story without an engaging interview. I can ask the questions and string together the words – polished by my editors, of course. But the substance of stories lies in the quotes.
And what makes good quotes? Passion.
When you get a person talking about something that truly makes them happy, intrigues them, resonates with them or truly irks them, then you’ll get the material that dignifies a story. Then the problem, for me anyway, is doing that story, those quotes, justice.
But regardless of the stress it may impose, I love the interviews that leave me smiling or musing. During my almost two years at the Messenger, I’ve had my fair share.
This week, for instance, I visited with Decatur’s coach David Park and two of his assistants – Kristina Bird and Hassie Sutton. The two ran under Coach Park during his tenure at Keller High School and now coach alongside him, honing an already-strong cross country program.
In interviewing the three, it was obvious that the one thing that drew them together was a shared passion for not only running and coaching kids to run, but also a desire to see kids succeed, at any level.
It was encouraging to see them so happy about witnessing a kid’s excitement over medaling for the first time, or breaking a personal-best time even though it may not have been a team-best – but was celebrated as if it were. I enjoy it not only as the lover of a happily-ever-after, but as a writer.
It was a fun story to write, and it’s a pretty good one, if I don’t say so myself.
And if you agree, don’t tell me. Tell them.