Thursday, June 29, 2006

Even More Things Considered

I just heard the NPR interview. My first impressions include relief, plus something unlike relief gnawing in the pit of my stomach. Urk.

As I mentioned, at least 45 minutes of interview were distilled into the "All Things Considered" piece. It's interesting to hear what they chose and how they put it together. Some of my quotes were seamlessly assembled from longer quotes. Big sentences got condensed into little ones. In one case, they saved me from embarrassment when I mis-read from my own book. I'm not complaining I was misquoted; I can tell that most of the edits were done to streamline stories or omit details Melissa Block and her producer thought were extraneous. My meaning was represented faithfully, if abbreviated. I'm just fascinated by the process.

I wish NPR had picked different samples from my book to accompany their Web posting. They chose four panels from Mom's Cancer in which I rail angrily at weak, selfish smokers who deserve whatever they get (the same sequence Melissa asked me about in the interview). I'll stand behind the truth of those panels but they're not representative of the rest of the book. Nor, frankly, are they a very attractive inducement that'd make someone want to rush right out and buy it.

But no complaints. I'm not ungrateful. It was a great experience, hits on my website and blog are soaring, and I appreciate the opportunity. Mom would have loved it.


Anonymous said...

Brian, I got to listen to much of the piece on my drive home from work. Thanks for the heads up! I would have missed it otherwise.

You two did a great job.


Robin (from racs) said...

I hadn't yet seen the blog notice, so I was delightfully surprised when, as I pulled into the grocery store parking lot, I heard the NPR announcer promise a feature on cancer-related comic books "coming up after the break." I sat in the car in 90-degree heat for more than 10 minutes waiting for it, and then listening to it. Brian, you sounded great, and you're right, the editing was seamless. How did they do that in just one afternoon?

Mike said...

I liked the sample page but it should have been one of two, with the other an example of a lighter moment in the book. However, they spelled your name right, they got the name of the book right and they made you sound articulate and intelligent. All things considered ...

BrianFies said...

Keith and Robin, thanks. Robin, as I replied in racs, please apologize to your family on my behalf. I'm glad you caught it, though.

I have no idea how they edited the interview so quickly. We were done about 10 a.m. Pacific time and I think their first broadcast on the East Coast was about three hours later. And that's probably a typical turnaround time for them. I'm impressed with both the work pace and technology (I knew where the splices were and even I couldn't hear them).

Mike, I think this is the second time you've had to remind me of the big picture. I'm going to tape the words "They Got My Name Right" over my bathroom mirror and repeat them daily.

Thanks, all.

Anonymous said...

I missed your interview, but visited the NPR website. Don’t underestimate NPR’s audience; they won’t dismiss your entire body of work based on one cartoon. Paradoxically, for me, the cartoon will serve best. I have a teenager that spent the last year successfully beating testicular cancer, only to join the fools that fall to peer smoking. I can’t adequately express my frustration, but your comic strip comes close. I, like most, know this kind of anger only comes from love. Best of luck to you.

Anonymous said...

Hi Brian

Nobody likes to hear their own voice on tape, you know.

For what it's worth, hearing the interview "cold", I thought it came across as thorough, articulate, and insightful, just long enough actually. Your comment about pictures going directly to the reader's brain is as succinct an explanation of the comics form as I've come across.

It was interesting to read your comments on their choice of samples, because I had a similar reaction (I accessed the story via the NPR web page and so saw the visual presentation first) because that is one of my less-favorite parts of the book and seems non-representative of the whole work. I imagine they wanted to differentiate your story (a family member's point-of-view) from Ms. Engleberg's (a first-person account) and so didn't choose a patient-in-distress page.

Thanks for sharing the technical details of the experience; I was particularly curious as to how many of you were in the same room at the time.

Finally, I imagine answering what turned out to be the final question of the piece was a bit tough, especially considering Ms. Engleberg's current position.


Louie said...

I felt lucky to have caught the interview on my way home from work, especially since I didn't know about it in advance and my commute is only about 10 minutes total.

I enjoyed the interview. I thought your answers to the "smoking" question and the "what you left out" question were well reasoned and well communicated, and your reading of your mother's own words was a very poignant moment. Well done, Brian!