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Risky interviews

 I just finished an interview with Library Journal. This was done by e-mail, so I could write exactly what I wanted to say. It’s easier on the journalist and gives the interviewee more control, but for a writer it complicates things – suddenly I am writing, and the time flies by as I type and delete, rearrange and rethink. (So much for the encyclopedia articles I needed to check, phone calls to make, plans and budgets to finalize.) It’s much easier to spend 15 minutes on the phone and let the chips fall where they will. And as they do. A recent interview with me in the western Massachusetts Women’s Times is very nicely done, but suggests that I have a rather closer connection to Madeleine Albrecht and Henry Kissinger, due to my having been made a member of an important U.S.-China organization last year, than is actually the case. My closest connection to Ambassador Albrecht is in fact having the name of a “pearl lady” in Beijing whom she recommended to a friend of mine who was also in the Clinton government. (Even this sounds grander than it is – we’re really talking a very female kind of clothes connection.)

In any case, I have received an invitation to a special members-only luncheon for Chinese Premier WEN Jiabao. I don’t know whether there’s professional benefit to come from the event, but it’s certainly been good on the home front. I actually wasn’t sure I should take the time away from the office right now, but realized that Tom, my son, would never speak to me again if I missed the chance to see “Grandpa Wen” in person – and I think such things do give me a status boost. (Here’s an ethics question: if he writes a snarky response to this as a comment, am I obligated to approve it?)

By the way, here’s an appealing feature on the National Committee’s website: short pieces about historic events in U.S.-China relations that the Committee has been involved in. I like this one, about a visit by Chinese journalists to the United States in 1973. It seems to have been popular to take visitors to historic theme parks; this is the second time I’ve seen photos from the early 1970s of a Chinese group posing with someone in colonial costume.

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