My phone rings. I answer it.
“Hello,” the young voice says. “Is this Sean Deet… Deet... ”
My last name has always been a source of frustration for telemarketers and non-German speakers. I help the poor girl out. “Sean Dietrich,” I say.
“Thank you, Mister Dietrich. I’m writing something for my school newspaper and your wife scheduled this interview for us. Is now a good time?”
“I have all the time in the world. Can I ask your name?”
“Oh, shoot. Sorry, yes. My name’s Lindsey.”
Long silence. The sound of rustling papers. An electric pencil sharpener.
“What grade are you in, Lindsey?”
“Fire at will.”
“Um… My first question is, what do you like about writing?”
A very good question. In fact, I have done more than a few interviews, but I rarely get straightforward questions like this. I have to think for a few moments about how to answer.
Finally, I say, “I guess I like how it makes me feel, the act of writing, I mean. I can’t explain it. Writing is fun.”
Bill Shakespeare eat your heart
She says in a whisper, “How… It... Makes… Him… Feel...”
“And I also like meeting new people who I get to write about. I enjoy meeting people.”
“...Meeting… New… People…”
More silence. Followed by paper sounds. The noise of a child clearing her throat.
“Are you happy with your life, Sean?”
This child is aiming straight for the jugular. She’s asking existential questions right off the bat. Questions I don’t know whether I have answers for. Besides, what is happiness, really? Is this a yes or no question? Or is it a matter of percentages? Is anyone ever truly happy? If so, do they stay that way forever, or only for a few weeks? I mean, I know some who have everything they want—health, stuff, money, family, success, a pasta maker—and they still want more.…