Three Trick Questions | Language the “Universal Whore” (Erica Jong)

 Trick Questions | Language the “Universal Whore” (Erica Jong)

A Pulitzer-winning reporter is writing an in-depth piece – about you. What are the three questions you really hope she doesn’t ask you?

This prompt assumes there is good reason for a Pulitzer-winning reporter to write an in-depth piece about me. Therefore, the assumption is I have somehow received notice and review. I will assume that I have published best-selling books that have received positive reviews and press notice. Given this assumption, the reporter will probably not have had time to actually read my latest book. In this way I will manipulate the questions, by providing her with a pre-list of questions, (tip from Publicity Hound). I would also have included the usual head shot images, together with environmental shots of me in various settings, manipulating the image I wish to project. I have had experience of reporters twisting what I have said, so I will think carefully about how to direct the interview.

I will preempt the possibility of trick questions by asking questions I wish to answer, such as:

“What really matters to me is ______”

“The real issues are ______ ”

“The more interesting question is ______ ”

The answers to these questions will have been well-thought out. In much the same way as I take control of a meeting, a training event, or a project interview, I will take control of this interview.

However, a journalistic trick is to ask a stinker at the end, just as the interview is wrapping up. Something like:

“Let’s catch up again this time next year – if you still think you will have written anything significant by then?”

To which I may answer something like:

“You know what, who knows, I may be living in my PJ’s and nothing may have happened. My goal is to fully live, if this includes significant writing, well then. In the words of Erica Jong, (“in Seducing the Demon”), if I am a writer then maybe I will become:

 ‘…someone who takes the universal whore of language and turns her into a virgin again.’

Who knows if my ‘alchemical’ ability will emerge?”

 

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