I recently did an interview with Joi Murugavell who does “oodlies”. Oodlies are cartoon-y embellishments that tell the intimate back stories of people Joi meets online. She cyber stalks people that grab her interest, learning about their quirks from Twitter, FB, blogs and so on and forms an intuitive picture of them. She then sends the quirkiest interview request in Christendom and from the answers she gets back, she “oodlies”.
I was her latest victim. The experience was expansive, real, raw, risky, exhilarating, kind, true. I got super teary typing out my responses because I was so grateful for the depths she’d gone to to ask questions that dug deep.
Oh, how I’d love all journalists to dig like this, to reach for the humanity in a person and share something true and gutsy about the people they meet.
But I’ve pulled out some of the bits I enjoyed answering the most….
Joi: What do you often think about before the cameras start rolling?
Sarah: I have a phrase that goes around in my head when I’m about to do something big and a bit scary and a bit lonely, “This is serious Mum”. It started when I was a kid and I think I started saying it before TISM. Somehow it reminds me of all the times life has been vast and boundary-less and confronting and I’ve been alone… and all the times I’ve managed to get through it, regardless. It calms me down.
Then I don’t think anything at all and I concentrate on connecting with the person I’m meant to be talking to (a contestant, or to a producer, or to the camera). You have to stop the head stuff and drop your energy into your heart space to do this. Television work can be pretty boring and not always intellectually stimulating. But it can be emotionally fun when you focus on the human connection inherent in it. It’s hard to do and I often forget to do it. Meditating while I’m getting my makeup done helps.
Joi: What would a 15 year old Sarah be thinking about right now?
Sarah:That’s a wonderful question. She’d be fretting, probably. I was an insomniac at 15. And I worried that I was getting life very wrong. I was also into maths. I loved the certainty of it. I would do Lewis Carrol logic puzzles for fun. I’d also be wondering, “when will a great boy notice me”. Not much has changed. Just my perspective and knowing.
Joi: Its time to talk about boys. Would you date spaghetti if it was missing meatballs?
Sarah: Nope. I like the richness of the meatballs. I don’t eat fodder for the sake of putting something in my gut. I seek the full meal.
Joi: I absolutely despise the idea of being on a date and have never been on one. I’d always ‘go out for a movie or a thing’ with someone who is a friend, someone I’ve known for a bit (who’s spaghetti I like). The whole idea of meeting a near stranger and small talk on a date does my head in, its almost like being caught in cheese without any holes. What are your thoughts on the whole dating thing? Some people love it and I can see why, I gas (deliberate typo).
Sarah: I don’t feel awkward in situations which are clearly awkward (which set-up dates are). I quite like the sport of breaking through the awkwardness and acknowledging the awkwardness in each other. It’s a good test – can the other person acknowledge it and laugh at it, too.
Joi: You’re ridiculously busy, I have more questions. What thrills you to bits? and which bits get thrilled the most?
Sarah: I love heights and jumping from them – bungey jumping and sky diving etc. My stomach gets thrilled. It screams out freely. I love falling in love. Sometimes the smell of flowers, or salt spray, reminds me of this feeling. I feel it at the base of my spine.
Joi: 3 questions you’d like me to ask you?
- would I send my kids to private or public schools?
- would I love to eat dinner with Russell Brand?
- do you really think every meal can be improved with frozen peas?
Afterwards, I also asked Joi what this picture above was about:
Joi: When you said (hashimotos has) given you a lot I drew an oodlie that was free, cheekily menacing and determined, above a tea cup (which represents the ‘slowing down’ part). And a figure lying down in that turned over calm/tea cup cave thinking about what was important … Knowing the ambitious free spirit was doing it’s thing above the calm of the tea cup but not being frustrated that it couldn’t join the free spirit/maintain that energy, all the time.
If you were lying in a tea cup you’d hear all the noise outside but it would kinda be a muffled calm knowing it wasn’t dead silent and you could join it again any time.
Out of interest…what three questions would you like to be asked?