Well, I thought I’d update y’all on that. I contacted the reporter to ask about the progress on the story and he said it will be coming out on Longreads, which specializes in long-form journalism. He has submitted a draft to his editor and predicts a late July/early August publication date. I know he’s spoken to least six other people besides me for this story.
The reporters have left again. Yesterday they were there for over three hours and today it was over four hours. Yesterday one of them interviewed me while the other took still pics. Then I guess they decided they wanted to do a video interview with me too, so they came back today and did that.
Video is kind of slow. We had to rearrange my office a bit, and lock the cats in the bedroom — they kept wanting to come inside the office, and when we shut the office door they meowed pitifully and kept shoving their paws under the door. I’m pretty sure I need to get the guy next door a Meijer gift card or something because I had to ask him to stop mowing his lawn — the sound was bleeding into the audio — and he got pretty grumpy, as well as he might have.
They asked me a bunch of questions on video and then actually had me work on updates for the site and videoed me doing that and pretending they weren’t there.
After all that was done they said they wanted an “establishment shot” of the street outside (not actually showing the house) and wanted pics of me outside also. They asked if I was too tired and I said no. I thought: how long can it take? Well, it took much longer than I thought. First we had to find a nice spot and then they took a lot of pictures of me posing this way and that and looking in this direction and that direction and so on, then while walking back to the house we found ANOTHER nice spot and they took pictures of me there too.
These were very professional guys as far as I can tell. Not that I’ve ever been through this before. But they seem super cool. I really am looking forward to their results.
A month or so ago a freelance magazine writer contacted me and said he wished to do a big feature article about the Charley Project for a magazine. He writes for a number of well-known, very respectable publications. He lives in California, but would be in the Chicago area in June, and he would like to take a photographer down and swing by where I lived to interview me and take pictures.
Of course I said yes. I have since spoken to this reporter several times on the phone, and checked out his website and resume and stuff. In addition to speaking to me, he wanted to interview some Charley Project Irregulars and also my dad for some reason, so I provided him with contact info. Dad says they spoke for like an hour and a half and I guess he told the reporter my whole life story.
The reporter is arriving in a couple of hours. I’ve put on makeup and a nice shirt and tried my best to clean up my train wreck of an office. At least I’m finally awake today — I was so exhausted having got home from Poland that the last several days I’ve been asleep like 18 hours a day.
I’m not sure exactly what all he’ll ask but I’d like to walk him through how I update cases — normally I’d be writing updates right now but I’m waiting till he gets here so he can see how it’s done. This article is definitely going to be a go because he says the editors of multiple magazines have expressed an interest in publishing it.
Yeah, so I’m back from Reynoldsburg, Ohio, where they held an event today to honor the missing children of Ohio. Although I showed up in an unofficial capacity only, I had a blast.
I mainly came cause Gina DeJesus, one of the Cleveland kidnap survivors, was speaking. The event was at the Messiah Lutheran Church. I showed up slightly late and had to sit in the back. There were several speakers before Gina, and I spent some time trying to figure out which one of the people sitting in the audience was her. It was fairly easy because half or more of the attendees were black, and most of the rest were white. I zeroed in on two brown-skinned women in the front but couldn’t figure out which one was Gina. They turned out to be Gina and her older sister Myra.
Anyway, Gina read a speech off several sheets of paper about how it was important to pay attention to missing persons bulletins, and it was important to pay attention to your surroundings and the people in your neighborhood and so on because you never knew who might be hiding something. I mean, people went inside Ariel Castro’s house and had no clue about the women held captive there. I think a lot of that is because the idea that your friend, neighbor or relative might have three kidnapped women locked in his basement is just something that would not occur to most people.
Myra spoke also, and talked about what life was like having a missing family member. One of the things she mentioned was how a man known to the family told her parents, reassuringly, something like “Don’t worry, they won’t find her dead.
That man was named Ariel Castro.
There was an intermission before a middle school choir showed up to sing a song. I went around talking to people — not Gina, I was not sure whether to approach her or not at that point — and handing out business cards. There were booths about various topics set up in the lobby and an adorable remote-controlled talking boat that went around telling people about boat safety. I told the boat about the time I nearly drowned in Lake Michigan at age five, failing to mention the fact that this near-tragedy did not involve a boat, just some poorly supervised beach time.
So after all that was over we had a balloon release in the parking lot. Fortunately the wind cooperated.
Just before we all left, I decided to approach Gina after seeing some other people do so. We didn’t really talk but she consented to have her photo taken with me before we parted ways. I wish I had remembered to smile in the picture. It was one of those days where it was cloudy out (it rained later) but the light hurt your eyes anyway, and I was squinting so hard I forgot about smiling.
And then I went home.
Altogether it was a most profitable visit. I made some contacts and hope to return next year.
I was interviewed by Marli Kaufmann for The Scold, a small online magazine directed at women. Marli is an old friend of mine whom I met while we were both attending Hendrix College in Arkansas. She interviewed me by email in February. Initially she was going to write a regular article about the Charley Project, but she liked my interview answers so much that she decided to just post the whole thing as-is.
Although Ed Dentzel released the podcast on I think Tuesday, I didn’t mention it on my blog till today cause I wanted to listen to the whole thing. (Why that was, I don’t know; I’d heard the whole thing already, when I gave the interview in the first place.) Well, Michael and his parents and I listened to it all this afternoon and it turned out great. I wish I hadn’t talked so fast though. My apologies if people have trouble understanding me.
The entire podcast — the introduction, interview and after-interview statement — is 1 hour and 12 minutes long. And I would recommend you guys turn up your volumes a bit.
The guy who does the “UnFound” podcasts has just released three more. (My links for the MPs’ names direct you to their Charley Project casefiles; click on the “UnFound” link above to see the podcasts.) There’s:
Rose Marie Gayhart, a 23-year-old missing from Florida since 1985; I don’t have much on her presently
The podcaster, Ed Dentzel, interviewed me by phone on September 21. We talked for about an hour, and afterwards, at his request, I emailed him a bunch of stuff. The September call was actually what they call a pre-interview. The real, public interview will be next week. In the meantime, Ed is going to send me an outline of how he’d like the interview to go, what questions he plans to ask me, etc., for me to examine and suggest possible changes if needs be.