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When I first joined Twitter I was big into the #FF game. When tweeting about how awesome the podiatry community was proved unsuccessful I turned my business account into one that would allow me to do research for a book I was writing. Since I had no idea what I was doing I made a lot of mistakes which was great because I learned more about myself than if I would have had an actual plan in place. I'm a born networker and naturally inclusive so I came up with the idea of shouting out fans from each of the thirty MLB teams. It was a lot of fun, and people seemed to like it, but after a while it became too much.

I didn't want to give it up entirely so I came up with the idea of trying to interview individual fans. Again, I didn't really know what I was doing and I was pretty nervous when I asked my first guest if he would like to appear on my Twitter show. Fortunately he was a class act, and after getting through my first interview without too many problems I decided to try a second. Lining up guests wasn't difficult, I asked friends of mine if they wanted to chat, sent them an email explaining that the show was about them so if there was a particular topic or event they wanted to discuss, I was open to suggestions.

After a while I skipped the emails. They weren't helpful since we had a tendency to get off topic, and sometimes people would forget or not get back to me which was really annoying. One guy sent me a document with talking points about a book he had written, unfollowed me on Twitter and had the balls to ask if we were still on for tomorrow. I replied that I was very ill which was the truth, and told him I was taking a sabbatical which also ended up being the case. A friend of mine had bugged out without giving me a good reason, he apologized later, but his reason was weak sauce so I wrote him off and didn't invite him back to make up his time slot.

One of my most successful interviews involved an acquaintance of mine who admitted to being depressed. We talked about his job that had taken advantage of him, and it felt to me as if we were participating in a real interview instead of being on Twitter. I was bawling at the time so I was glad no one could see that, others were favoriting tweets where he talked openly about his blog post and what his future held which didn't seem to be very rosy. I felt bad for him, but the interview was cathartic for me so I kept tweeting after he signed off to keep a prior engagement.

Taking a break was good, but when I saw an interview being conducted by someone else that didn't give me a better sense of any of the people I thought to myself, I can do better than that and I'm not a professional. A sports writer had recently tweeted something about Bud Selig that had caught my eye, and what I thought was unusual was how he had responded to a tweet of mine asking if he was going to hang out at Facebook when he said he would be away from Twitter while the coverage was scrolling down his timeline. Normally I know people fairly well before I invite them onto my show, I once interviewed a British film maker minutes after meeting him, but he was one of a kind.

Today's interview started with my computer freezing before I could announce my guest. I had a rough night on Wednesday. Thursday I watched my neighbor's sick kids and my chiropractor told me I was not myself during that appointment so I felt bad for my guest until a friend of his tweeted something derogatory at us after I introduced him. Growing up my parents told me what to do and how to do it. They were authoritarian, dictatorial, abusive, and great examples of what not to do as far as parenting goes. I never felt as if I had a voice as a child. When I told people I was cold or hungry, my parents didn't do anything to validate those basic physical needs (my brother used to take the same apple to school each day to save his pride) so I learned that I wasn't important.

When the interview was over a friend of mine that I respect said something encouraging. I admitted that today hadn't gone well and it was probably my fault for being rusty and out of sorts along with me not knowing my guest well, but he said as a former reporter, some interviews are like that, and you have to keep pushing forward regardless of your subject's uncooperativeness. He wasn't really uncooperative, but I like it when I get people to go deeper and come forth with things they wouldn't normally share on Twitter so perhaps I was harder on myself than I should have been.

You never really know what other people are thinking and feeling, and I was able to pull a surprising amount of information that people hadn't intended to reveal out of my victims, one of whom ended up being the guy who was an ass to me initially. When he said my show was not recommended, I knew that he was either a troll, or someone my guest knew. I get annoyed when people bring attention to the thing they claim to dislike so I tweeted back at him and pretty soon he was answering questions along with my guest.

While they were in college these guys ran what was a Kickstarter campaign before Kickstarter was a thing. That was cool, but the best part for me is when I asked what they would say to themselves as college students if they could go back to those people and speak to them. Guest one said he should learn not to fear change, and that he was better at coping with it than he thought he was. The second said that he would liked to have stopped pretending he was still in school when he wasn't. As an interviewer I like to keep the attention away from myself, but while I was tweeting I had tears running down my face as I remembered the scared teenager who had worked multiple jobs just to try and pay for school.

I said that I wished that girl had loved herself more and that the grades and money didn't matter. During college my grades were enough to help me graduate with honors, although it didn't end up being useful in terms of financial success. I landed a shit job with worse pay and again, I worked myself into the ground trying to prove to everyone that I could handle the responsibilities of an entry level position at a prestigious firm that taught me that men wore sober suits and monogrammed shirts while women had flowers on their desks and spoke nicely to difficult clients.

What I didn't realize at the time was that people need a safe place to tell their story and that's what I'm trying to provide by doing these interviews. Maybe I shouldn't have gone after someone I didn't know well, but I thought he was interesting, I find people to be fascinating despite what they say about themselves, and I never did get to what was behind the Bud Selig tweet, and now I don't really think I want to know. People need their secrets. Interviewing people is fun, it can be a tremendous amount of work, but the experiences you get to hear about are good for the soul.

#MLBFF has shown me how powerful simple questions can be. I have new respect for those who have to interview others for a living. For me it's fun and it's my show so if someone is a jerk or things aren't going well I have no one but myself to blame. Conversely, I get the credit when things run smoothly and people share in something that is larger than each of us as individuals. Safety and story telling are important to me, and thanks to my guests and Twitter, I have a chance to extend that platform to anyone, not just the fabulously wealthy, the freakishly talented, or the divinely beautiful.

My therapist wanted me to write about why I think the way that I do. For a while I wasn't sure if I knew why, but now I can see that I'm trying to create for others what I never had and dearly longed for as a child. I had a story, needs, wants, fantasies, to share with others, but I didn't have a safe place or interested people to listen to what I had to say so this is my way of saying, hey, I think you're a neat person, and perhaps you haven't had a chance to do something like this before. Whatever you say is okay, and if you don't want to go real deep, that's okay too. So far I haven't had a bad interview yet, and something tells me I won't.

#MLBFF is open to anyone and everyone so if you or anyone else you know would like to be interviewed by yours truly, let me know. You can reach me @JessicaFastball on Twitter, and I have a place on my calendar waiting for those adventuresome souls who have a story and have been searching for a place to share it with others. Until then, I pray that you and yours are well.

I haven't made a trip update since I was in Brooklyn. It seems like a long time for me now, but doing the objective math I left there...72 hours ago. Or less. Currently, I am in Portland, Maine. I don't have much to say about Portland. I will sort my impressions of this leg out in a few days, I am sure.

But I do have something to say about travelling. Travelling for me, in this fashion, is a constant process of waiting for my batteries to go down. Literally and figuratively: right now my iPhone is showing 45%. My camera'a batteries went dead earlier today. I spend a lot of time worrying about where and how to recharge these batteries. And this goes for my figurative batteries as well. Everyday, when I wake up in a strange bed or curled up in a train seat, I wonder if I will have the energy to keep going, to keep walking, to keep smiling through conversations with strangers and queues in impatient places. There are times I think I will give up, but with failure not an option, I just keep on moving.

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