The interviews went really well, even better than I ever could have expected.
By late in the night, I still wasn’t sleeping, and that just added stress that oh my gosh I’m going to drive two hours and have to be most professional I’ve ever been on five, four, three hours of sleep. After tons of prayer, thought, tossing, turning and opening my Bible, I think I ended up getting about two hours.
Nonetheless, I was bright-eyed and ready to go by 7:30 a.m. when we hit the interstate. All my questions, even ones I didn’t even know I had, were answered. And I realized new ones still need to be asked. The photographer and I expected an hour of stories and explanation, and resulted with two, with an additional hour of photos. The sources were not only extremely gracious, as they had maintained through a week of emails, but opened up the doors I’ve spent years wondering about but never wanted to enter.
I didn’t cry. I expected to, and it would be okay if I did — journalists are human. I took deep breaths and before the tougher questions I found myself shaking a little. My eyes were becoming moist as we finally left after the last set of photos. But I kept my composure, even as the sources insisted on hugs and not handshakes. I addressed every tiny piece of curiosity that arose, I wrote like mad and I asked some more.
Then the tiredness hit and all the way home I was unable to really think straight, except that this story could be anyone’s, even mine, at any time. I walked in the same daze across campus to make up the quiz I missed, but I had to shake it off when I met my editor to discuss the next steps.
I gained four sources from the interviews and after contacting one today, have three left. I’ll turn in a draft to my editor on Sunday. Meanwhile, just half an hour out of interviewing, I received an email from the main source, asking to contact my editor and compliment my interviewing skills.
And that was the one moment I almost broke down.