“Just” an interview vs. THE interview

“Just” an interview vs. THE interview

During a very long delay at the Atlanta airport, way back when, I sat on the floor and read my first longform interview in Rolling Stone magazine. It was my foray into reading adult publications. I was enthralled by the in-depth conversations about the creative process, life on the road, and the surprisingly unglamorous backstories of the subjects.

Sometimes editors ask me to “just” do a Q&A for a lowball rate.

I know they’re not thinking of the kind of interviews done by the likes of Rolling Stone or a handful of other publications where the interviewer does ample research to inform thoughtful questions, spends days with their subject, and then edits the text into a coherent flow.

When done properly, it’s one of my absolute favorite genres as a reader. When I’m on the other side, as the journalist, it’s not a quickie job.

You can probably guess what magazine I bought at the airport the other day. At $6.99, a paper copy of Rolling Stone is a luxury. But it’s one that I relish, for its tactile qualities, the big pics, and the fact that I can’t click away to something else.

Born to Run book cover

Here’s a peek into Bruce Springsteen’s writing process of his new book, Born to Run, which he discussed at length in Rolling Stone:

“It kind of happened by accident. I didn’t think of it initially as a book. I was writing to pass the time, and I felt if I didn’t do anything with it, maybe my kids would like to have it. I wrote quite a bit for about two or three weeks. When I went back and read it, I said, ‘This feels pretty good.’ I’d write longhand in some notepads, and then I’d put it away for months. I’d dictate it to Mary Mac, my assistant, and then rewrite it until it felt nice and tight and concise. It just became a project I was working on. When we’d tour, I’d put it away for the entire tour, a year and a half. When I finished what became the first of the three sections, I said, ‘Well, there’s a tale going on there that might be interesting to some people.’”

I haven’t decided yet if a paper copy of his super thick book would be more likely to feel like a luxury or a hernia. But I’m keen to read all of that tale.