Over the years I’ve been involved in interviews on both sides of the table. I’ve had terrific coaching from a wonderful HR manager, yet nothing comes to mind worthy of a story when I think of interviews I’ve conducted. There were the oddballs like the resume that escaped HR scrutiny–the first page was promising and the second page revealed the applicant’s obsession with aliens. Seriously. I did not grant an interview. Only two job interviews truly stand out. One was a boon and the other a disaster. Both left a lasting impression, but I’m not sure how to distill either one.
Then I recalled other interviews–the ones writers conduct. The latest memory prompt from Lisa Reiter at Sharing the Story is about interviews. This is based on one I got to photograph.
She was driving a University of Montana fleet vehicle to conduct interviews with local farmers about newly released GM alfalfa. It was a hot-button story for rural communities and food advocacy at large. I rode in the passenger-side seat, watching miles of snow covered fields stretch between jagged profusions of opposing mountain ranges. Not an easy place to farm. I was riding shotgun as the photographer. We pulled into a dinky motel in Lewistown, Montana. I once lived here, 22 years ago. Bittersweet emotions washed over me. Here my daughters toddled at Big Springs and watched Bugs Bunny the day their brother was born at home. It’s a tiny town with streets on steep hills that close in winter. It’s where I once dreamed of going to school one day, of being a writer. This day I returned with a journalism grad student. This day my daughter was the interviewer.