Over at The Rumpus is an interesting conversation — “Fresh Air Fail” — between writer Martha Bayne and her friend and fellow writer Zoe Zolbrob. Bayne wrote an essay last August about finding herself unexpectedly pregnant and later miscarrying. We booked her for an interview. The interview didn’t go well and never ran. She reflects in this conversation on the experience of talking to Terry and she is wonderfully insightful about it.
Zoe Zolbrod: But perhaps your question about whether you did yourself a disservice has more to do with you personally, as you continue to work through the effects of that watershed couple months. It’s interesting that after the awkward interview with Terry Gross, when you felt like, to some extent, your privacy was being invaded, your question is whether you should have held less back originally. I would think your experience might have led you to wonder why you had put so much out there in the first place—although in all our conversations, I’ve never heard you second-guess your decision to publish the essay. So when you ask if you were doing yourself a disservice in not going deeper into your own psychology or into the full complexity of the situation, are you really asking more generally about personal writing in general? What would have a satisfying conversation with Terry Gross looked like to you—what would it have covered?
Martha Bayne: Well, one key thing that I forgot is that to a large degree, these interviews function as a stand-in for the story itself. So you’re being asked to re-tell the story you already told on paper, for those who don’t know it, rather than have a conversation that builds on the existing information. I remember subconsciously chafing against this at the time, thinking, Why is she asking me these dumb questions? But I blame myself completely for that part.
You can read the essay that prompted it all — “Knocked Over: On Biology, Magical Thinking and Choice” here.