Flippin’ the Coin

This week, I sat on the other side of an interview. As a journalist, I have interviewed hundreds of people. Some interviews were perfunctory, fact-finding. The best were the ones that involved long conversations, spurred and led by my questions. Just because I was a journalist, I had the opportunity of getting to know someone. Best were the times when a subject would say “No one has ever asked me that.”

This week, the coin flipped. I was interviewed for the first time about my writing and October Run. Lowell Sun reporter Hiroko Sato asked the questions. I thought there would be no surprises. When she wrapped together a series of my answers with the comment: “It seems that you have a theme of takings risks,” there I sat. Stunned.

I’m not a bungee jumping, sky-diving, race-car driving kind of person. Never have been. However, I do take emotional risks — jumping into love, uprooting my life to move to a new location and start over.  Hiroko was right, I let my characters flip coins, take risks. In October Run, Phred Rivers decides to help a woman she has just met. Readers in my writing group thought no one would take that kind of risk. I decided to let Phred run with it.

In my college years, my favorite bumper sticker read DO IT.  Not a bad idea for these times when we can easily become complacent with comfort in our lives. The decision to do something can be a choice. Other times, the decision can be thrust upon us. For those who have no choice about starting over — the hundreds of thousands misplaced by the tsunami or the equal number shaken from their lives in Haiti — having a choice is a luxury beyond compare.

Try something new. Because you can.

Help those placed in new circumstances by disaster. Consider a donation to Doctors Without Borders, great humanitarians and risk-takers.

Read Hiroko Sato’s story about Betsy’s in the Lowell Sun.

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