No need to freak, right? (Right?!?)

Konny graffiti on the streets of Paris photo credit Kirsten Akens 2014

This morning I've got a big interview for a story I've been assigned to write.

And I am freaking out.

I'm trying not to freak out. But I. Am. Freaking. Out.

My interviewee is a big deal. Not just out there in the world at large, but in my life. His work has influenced the way I think. His words are at times so intensely down-to-earth and relatable, and at other times, pure magic — at least in the sense that he seems to be speaking right to me.

And now, in a few hours, he will be.

Instead of him challenging me to think about things differently, I'll be asking him the deep questions.

That feels like a lot of pressure.

Of course, I've been in a similar place before.

I've freaked out (and geeked out) over interviewing, among others:

Amanda Palmer. Hunter Hayes. Norah Jones. Peter Sagal and Carl Kasell (who sadly would not record a message for my phone). Taylor Swift. Phil Liggett. Alton Brown.

And then, after getting on the phone and having my initial "Holy Heck I'm Talking To (Fill-In-The-Blank) Moment of Panic," I'd take a deep breath and remember that each one of these people was ... just another person. A successful person, yes. But still, just a person. With a body and a mind. A heart and a soul. A breakfast-lunch-and-dinner-eating human being.

Just like me.

Norah and I chatted about shopping at Target.

Alton and I talked about his love of flying airplanes.

Phil and I chuckled over the fact that he doesn't have a very good history when it comes to picking cycling tournament winners.

And Hunter and I laughed — and laughed and laughed about absolutely nothing at all of importance. (Super nice guy, he is.)

These tidbits might not be of the headline-grabbing sort. But to me, they're what I love most about interviewing, both "celebrities" and the woman next door — connecting with another individual, on a person-to-person level. Catching a glimpse of who's behind the persona. And then using a range of quotes and content to help tell a piece of that person's story, so that my reader has a chance to connect with them too.

Today, I have to remember that. Remember why I like doing what I do.

A little bit of freaking out is OK. It keeps me on my toes.

But then I just have to settle into my seat, open up my computer ... and dial his number.


(This is my Day 2 contribution to the Your Turn Challenge. Read others' contributions and learn more here.)