Monthly Archives: April 2006

Pure Interest, Dreams, Masks, and Reality

Anyone who knows me well, knows I think excessively. It is nearly impossibly for me to turn my brain off. Try meditation, thanks, sure, I will. So as I’ve been blogging in the past, I’ve been intrigued by Beth Bye, Vice Chair of the WH School Board and candidate for state representative. And as I’ve mentioned before, I am the second entry on a “Beth Bye” Google search. So I contacted her and asked her if I could interview her for me blog, and she accepted. This was last Sunday. I know I should have written it up by now, but I had a mini-crisis in between interviewing her and finishing writing the interview up. See, it has long been a dream of mine to be an NPR correspondent. While I asked Bye if I could interview her mainly because I was very curious to know more about her, I also wanted to support her and help give her some more exposure, because frankly, I believe in her. She strikes me as a clear, compassionate, well-spoken, thoughtful, and engaged citizen: the makings for a great representative.

But once I got that “yes”, (and this is where this post turns to be solely about me and my own narcissistic ways) I began to fret about it. What do I ask her? I’ve never done an interview before, at least not one since high school. I began to think about journalistic approaches, because now I was going to be part of the news media. And I think that’s about when I began to connect the dots to being an NPR correspondent. “Well, if this interview goes well, NPR will certainly start recruiting me.” I planned carefully, and I drew up questions. I did my homework and tried to read what there was already printed about her on the web.

When I went to do the interview, I fully disclosed the fact that I am a teacher, not a journalist, and that I had not done an interview since high school. At one point, she referred to me as a reporter. And frankly, I behaved like a reporter. The interview did go very well, and I was very glad to have had the opportunity to get to know her better and to get a better understanding on where she stands on issues. Like I said, I was initially driven by curiosity to know more about her.

As I left, I began to feel young, like a child, like someone pretending to be someone she is not. I went to my office at school and took out my notes and began writing a formal news article/interview. I continued my research. i wanted to be able to link to all of the references she named. I wanted to gain a better understanding of the equation that determines how much money the state contributes towards a town’s education budget. Boy, had I bitten off more than I could chew. I sat there writing, thinking to myself, why am I trying to write in this manner? This isn’t me.

Truth be told, I never really wanted to be a real NPR correspondent. I just wanted to be Bob Edwards, well, Bob Edwards when he hosted Morning Edition. Then I was feeling compelled to report the bulk of my notes, because “the people have a right to know.” What monster had I turned into? So I stopped writing and started grading.

Now with a week under my belt, I think I have a much better idea of the directions I’d like to take. I say directionS, because I plan to do multiple posts. And, since I am not a reporter, this won’t be straight reporting, since I’ve always hated trying to write objectively, because I do not believe for a moment there is such a thing as objective writing, period. So stay tuned for a few posts.

While I may not be a journalist or even a hardcore blogger, I do enjoy writing, and I’ll do just that.

Wish I could take some credit…

..but I can’t. I’m a debate/speech coach at the school where I teach. I can’t say I the successes of those in my charge are due to my coaching, but I can brag about their successes! One of our kids recently went to the The World Individual Debating & Public Speaking Championships which happened to be hosted at the very exotic location of the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville, CT this year. Luckily, this same student qualified and went to Cyprus last year. He basically won the whole dang thing! He did not win first overall speaker, but he won first place in two out of a possible three categories. Even the “number one” speaker didn’t achieve that. And our kid — he is really talented. Again, I claim no responsibility. But this kid can write. And speak.

He was written up in a Salon.com article by Mark Oppenheimer. I met Mark at the event (I was a judge). He seemed like a great guy, and I really liked his article. But, in typical Heidi fashion, foot-in-mouth disease runs in my family, I said one of my famous “dumb-as-shit” things. He said his brother writes for the Valley Advocate, which I read when I lived in Noho. Remembering his brother’s self-important, pompous articles, I announced how much I disliked his brother’s writing. When Mark asked me why, I explained what a pompous ass I thought he was. It turns out I was talking about Tom Vannah. Oops. Tom’s the pompous ass. I actually liked Mark’s brother’s reviews.

Nonetheless, my debate kid rocks!!!!

Beth Bye, part II

I almost forgot, when Sujal told me that he saw the Beth Bye was running for state rep, he said she’s running against Bob Farr. Beth, if you’re reading, i have some advice. Shortly before the election, Farr rang our doorbell. As I ran down the stairs and opened the door, he was already walking away, but he turned around and hastily handed a pad of paper with is name printed on the sheets and quickly turned and ran away, adding, “I’m running for re-election. Thought you might like some paper.” I swear, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone as afraid of me before. Granted I am an imposing short, still somewhat thin woman. I do inspire fear in the hearts of door-to-doot campaigners. So Beth, my advice to you is don’t be afraid of your constituents. We’re not out to scare you.

Our Gal, Beth Bye

Ben pointed out in a comment that Beth Bye is running for State Rep — Congrats to hear. This led me to check it out, and I found this useful document about the state candidates. While I have not yet finished a thorough check, I was happy to see that we have a Green candidate, Cliff Thornton. As I’ve mentioned before, I feel new to local politics (and yes, I guess I’m even calling governor local…). Since I’ve moved from state to state, I haven’t set down those local politics kids of roots.

Hopefully in the near future I’ll post more on the book I’m reading, Absolute Conviction. But in the meantime, as it applies to this post, I am from Buffalo, NY orignially — well, a ‘burb. And I recall hearing a lot about Mayor Jimmy Griffin, as he was somewhat controversial. What stands out in my mind most is that I have this fairly vague memory of him funding an artist to create a sculpture along I-90 as people come into the city of Buffalo. The artist built his sculpture, which apparently did not go through any approval phases, because it was (I swear this is true) a neon green dancing penis with a cane and top hat. It was almost immediately removed. Nonetheless, in reading this book, I am finding out that I had no idea just how socially conservative he was/is. He was vehemently against New York State allowing abortion procedures, and he rallied against Roe v. Wade. So often my roots shock the heck out of me. I remember that he ran as a “man of the people” type, a democrat, though I seem to recall he often an republic leanings. My family really liked him. I’m not sure if my die-hard republican grandfather (worked for the sanitation department of Cheektowaga) liked him or not. Griffin was Catholic, which may have been enough for my grandfather. This link to Wikipedia on Griffin won’t work for me at the moment, but hopefully it is just temporarily down. This is all to say, I sadly have not following local politics well in the past, well, long time.

So read up, I must! And good luck to Beth Bye!