I have a fantasy of interviewing Terry Gross, the host of the radio show Fresh Air. When I envision the interview, it’s a pivotal moment in my life and it takes me to the next level in my Talk Show Host journey. It is clear, in this fantasy conversation, that she and I are on equal ground. The New York Times later proclaims: “Caity McCardell is The West Coast Terry Gross.”
In my fantasy, I ask her probing, intimate, interesting questions. She’s comfortable and honest and tells stories she’s never told before – all because of my incredible interviewing skills. She laughs and blushes. I can feel the energy of who she truly is coming out, her essence spilling out between us, caught like a vacuum by the microphone and pouring out into the airwaves, into the ears and consciousness of the millions of people listening right then in that moment. There are tears and there is laughter. The eyes of listeners – talent agents, New York Times journalists, radio show producers, that girl who teased me in 6th grade – well up with emotion.
Terry and I easily perform the interview dance, like two people at a party holding each other on the dance floor. I conversationally guide her by the waist and she soars through the air. At one point she looks at me thoughtfully and says, “that’s a great question.”
There’s a moment in the interview when I pause with an interviewers internal debate: should I review what she just said and take it deeper or move on to my next question? Instantly, I know to go deeper. I think, “I’m Caity The-Deeper-The-Better McCardell” and I smile to myself at this. She later comments, “when I first interviewed a famous person I couldn’t smile – I was so nervous. You’re amazingly confident.”
The fantasy ends with me walking her out into the lobby. I move to shake her hand and she refuses, holding out her arms for a hug. She says, “let’s do this again,” and, unlike most famous people, she means it.