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Last night, I played 20 questions with a new friend, Brian. It started out pretty simply, we talked about siblings, movies, music, etc. Finally, in an effort to be different, I asked him what his favorite period of history was and why (incidentally, it was the Renassance. Mine is the medieval period.)

Suddenly, he asked me what my opinion of video games was and why. So, I answered, and kept talking to clarify my position on it. When I realized I had written a short essay on the issue, I immediately apologized for it. `

He didn't mind. In fact, as he commented, he did it on purpose. He was taught that in college as a way to get people to answer questions. He said he got several quotes from me.

Gotcha. Or actually, he got me.

I have always admired the writing of my managing editor, Dale James. He always managed to touch that inner core of a person and pick up on all the right nuances that enabled him to bring life to a story. I'm envious of that ability. But, he told me, it's all in the ability to ask the right questions and to truly ask people what they are intrested in hearing about. I've always wanted to tail him on a story to find out how he was able to do that.

Well, last night, Brian showed me. And for that, I thank him from the bottom of my heart.

In my interview of a lady who wrote a cookbo'ok today, I looked at her and asked, "So, what was the first thing you ever cooked?"

Her expression looked dreamy as she recounted her experiments in creating potato chips and French fries as an eight-year-old.

Dale showed me how to take an ordinary story and to make it extraordinary by focusing on the people, not the event. And Brian taught me (and didn't even know it.) how to ask the right questions.

And because of them, I'm a better journalist.

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Meg

April 2017

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