I step out on to the stage with the usual apprehension. A local writer, introduces me and starts asking me questions. Before I can conclude my reasoning, he interrupts me and asks another question. When I answer, he says something like “that answer wasn’t very clear.” Five minutes later, I feel a certain restlessness in the audience. I remember Confucius, and do the only thing possible:
“Do you like what I write?” I ask.
“That doesn’t matter,” he answers. “I’m doing the interviewing, not you.”
“But it does matter. You don’t let me finish a sentence. Confucius said: ‘whenever possible, be clear.’ Let’s follow that advice and make things quite clear: do you like what I write?”
“No, I don’t. I have read only two books, and I hated them.”
“OK, so now we can continue.”
The camps were now defined. The audience relaxes, the environment fills with electricity, the interview turns into a true debate, and everyone – including the writer – is satisfied with the result.
Just for today
I will be agreeable.
I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly,
keep my voice low, be courteous, criticize not one bit.
I won't find fault with anything,
nor try to improve or regulate anybody but myself.