Saturday, November 21, 2009

Greg Mortenson in Indianapolis

If you are a regular reader, you will recall that recently I read the book Three Cups of Tea. Shortly thereafter, I posted a book review. I was so excited about what this man is doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan - promoting peace through education. In the late '80's, early '90's, I wrote a column for my hometown paper called "Flip Side." It was a human interest column, usually about my children or general observations. My editor and I forged a friendship and through the years, she has asked me to write a piece for her.
I opened my email in late October, and there was a request that had been sent to her to be in Indianapolis and interview Greg Mortenson. Her request was a simple one, reading something akin to: "Hey Miss Smarty-pants English major, would you like to cover this for us?"
I absolutely flipped out. I couldn't believe it. I started to tell everyone what I was going to do before I had confirmed with Mortenson's publicist. Then I started to think what if this doesn't work out and I look like a fool?
So, I sent an email telling his publicist that I would be thrilled to have the opportunity to sit down and interview him. For the next couple of weeks, I was holding my breath. It didn't seem the day would ever arrive.
Greg started speaking in Indianapolis at the Convention Center at 8 a.m. I live a little over an hour from Indy, had to find the Center, secure parking for the day and then find the room that he was speaking in. I was up bright and early. Driving to Indianapolis, the moon was setting as the sun was rising. It was beautiful.
After securing my press credentials, I set out for the room where he was speaking.

Telling the audience about the children in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
He has spoken on Capitol Hill, to crowds of thousands
and he was going to sit down and speak to 'lil ol' me.

Greg Mortenson and me. 11/2/09
Everyone kept asking me if I was nervous or scared. I would say "I may barf on his shoes, but it will be from excitement, not fear." There was no barf. I felt as if I was sitting down to chat with an old friend. I had read everything I could get my hands on and viewed every video of him produced in 2009.
Greg's people stood were nearby. There was a menacing looking manager turn body guard type who paced as we talked and like a cheetah closing in on its prey, he circled ever closer, checking his watch every couple of minutes. Greg was ignoring him, so I tried to ignore him, too.
Thanks to my editor friend, the opportunity to sit down and interview Greg Mortenson was one of the most exciting moments I've had for quite some time. If I sound like a gushing school girl, so be it. Anyone who knows me knows I wear my feelings on my sleeve. On that day in early November, my heart was glowing warmly for all to see.


Anonymous said...

Lucky girl! He is a big man. Can't wait to read your story!

Mary Jo said...

You go, Cheryl!

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