It is one thing to decide as an artist that I want to conduct interviews and share them publicly for artistic reasons - especially when I as the artist do not have the hardest part of this arrangement. It is another thing for someone else to say yes to that and do the difficult thing of re-living painful memories, knowing that the private place where these memories reside is being opened up for the world to see and judge. Why should they say yes to that?
Last month I recorded a couple interviews with my mom, Aunt Gail and Uncle Barry. I really enjoyed hearing the stories and doing the interviews, even though Mom thought I looked horrified at what I was hearing. To be honest, I don't think I was horrified, but my heart was breaking and bursting with love for the young couple my parents were and what they went through. I shared a lot of laughs with Aunt Gail and Uncle Barry over a very enjoyable four hours on a Saturday afternoon. But a week later, I felt emotionally destroyed by the act of interviewing/empathizing and a little guilty that I was putting loved ones in a similar position. Is it worth it? Is the artistic end-goal worthy of the painful process? While I as the playwright can believe it, does that make it true for other people as well?
We will be sharing those interviews soon, but before we do, here is me debating with myself whether I as the playwright am worthy of the stories I'm asking people to share with me.
*Note: I filmed while still a little sick and that clearly affected my words a bit as I said April 6, 1888, and I really meant 1988. Only a hundred years off the mark...