!As I settled into my second interview with the always-charismatic mayor of SteamPotVille, Mayor Earl Gray, all apprehensions left me about the course of the interview. Although I feel I have struggled of late to keep my interviews with the residents of SteamPotVille on topic, relevant and, even at times, coherent, with Mayor Earl there was a sense of grandiose power and seriousness which reminded me that I was speaking to the bird who held the very threads of life in SteamPotVille in his noble hand, er, beak. Over his left shoulder sat a plaque whose shimmering gold text read “Mayor Earl Gray: I take my job very seriously”. Below the plaque were two pieces of paper, one an advertisement extolling SteamPotVille’s new softball league (which currently has exclusively pitchers), and a proclamation on a lecture presented by Mayor Earl on “Story Writing For Kids”.
Interviewer: Good afternoon, Mayor Earl. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to speak with me. I see you have quite a bit on your plate. I’ve noticed you are offering a lecture on story writing for kids? Would you care to expand on that at all?”
Mayor Earl Gray: “My pleasure, young sir! I do believe it is the primary job of a Mayor to provide for the intellectual betterment of his community, what? That and giving speeches. I do rather enjoy giving speeches. The lectures on story writing for kids seemed like just the ticket!”
Interviewer: “Very interesting, Mayor. What sort of expertise do you have on kids writing books, that you can offer these sort of lectures?”
Mayor Earl Gray: “That was a very perceptive question! What sort of experience, yes, yes indeed! Well, I should say, I was a child once! Yes! I bet you don’t believe that but ohh yess, even ol’ Mayor Earl was once a young shaver like yourself, sir!”
At this Mayor Earl winks and elbows me jovially. I was not, to this point, aware that peacocks had elbows and, immediately after he withdraws his wing, it seems impossible that there is an elbow in anywhere.
Mayor Earl Gray: “And, at that, I have been the star, shall we say star? Yes, certainly. Hero. Protagonist. Mayor, if you will. Of a Children’s story myself, don’t you know? I believe that gives me…ahem…some knowledge on the subject indeed.”
Mayor Earl Gray: “I am at that, sir! Quite an insight, indeed! But yes, I feel this does indeed qualify me as something of an..er…of an expert in the field, if you will!”
Interviewer: “I wouldn’t argue with your assertion, Mayor. So what advice do you offer in your lecture on story writing for kids?”
Mayor Earl Gray: “Perseverance, my dear boy. A good writer must have perseverance! Overcoming obstacles, mental blocks, everything! This is what it takes to write!”
Interviewer: “Very interesting, Mayor. And how do these lectures go?”
Mayor Earl Gray: “They go quite well, if I do say! I have been toying with any number of different lecture techniques. Of late, I have just spent the entire lecture hiding in the audience!”
Interviewer: “I’m sorry? Hiding in the audience? How does this teach the children how to write a story?”
Mayor Earl Gray: “Ah, a good question indeed! Yes! That is what one would wonder! After an hour, I stand up and announce to the children who are still left that they have the perseverance needed to write! Don’t you see? If they are willing to sit through an hour of blank silence staring at an empty podium, then those children have what it takes to write!”
Interviewer: “That’s a very interesting idea. Is that the entire lecture?
Mayor Earl Gray: “No sir! After that, I pass out candy to the entire crowd! Perseverance and candy, sir, that is the trick! Now, if you will excuse me my boy, I must prepare for my next lecture!”
And at that Mayor Earl Gray left his office, leaving me sitting alone. As the interviewer, I would like to humbly point out the level of perseverance I have showed through these interviews so far, and ask for the readers patience with me as I continue to attempt to get a full interview with a resident of SteamPotVille.