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Mental Charlie Rose

I am Charlie Rose junkie. If you don't know who Charlie Rose is, please click here now.

I am a Charlie Rose junkie. Many a week night, I've fallen asleep while Charlie's guests expound on a variety of topics. Sometimes I stay awake for the whole show, but I usually drift away into a calm, blissful sleep while on the screen someone talks about some important topic, book, play, movie, etc.

Everyone talks to Charlie. Dressed in a suit and tie, Charlie Rose plays host to the foodless dinner party we all want to be at. By asking intelligent questions and graciously making his guests feel at ease, he shows us that the art of good conversation comes from an ability to listen as well as speak. Ideas can still be talked about and debated around a wooden table in a civilized manner. His show is simple and calm.

Sometimes, when I'm stuck in the writing of something, I visualize being interviewed by Charlie Rose. At first, this might sound like fantasy, but it really does get my brain working. I even have a name for it. I call it Mental Charlie Rose.

When I activate the Mental Charlie Rose, I picture the dark studio, the wooden table, Charlie in the suit. It's actually a rather boring image. Nothing fantastical, no wild things in the shadows, nothing seductive to it. After all, the purpose of the Mental Charlie Rose is to get brain to make words. Must make words, brain, must make words.

In order to move further into how the Mental Charlie Rose works, I will move into script format:


Charlie speaks directly to the camera.

CR: (your name) is here. In 2005, he/she wrote (something). Since its publication, it has been acclaimed as an important new work and (you) has been called an exciting new voice of a generation. I am pleased to have (you) at this table for a conversation.

Charlie turns to you and pats the table with emphasis.

CR: Welcome.

Note: Don't be afraid to heap the praise on yourself. Charlie is a master of praise in his role of gracious host. According to Boyfriend Colm, there's a word in Irish, Flaitheach, which really sums up Charlie. It means perfect praise, golden praise. Stick with the positives. Remember, you're trying to motivate yourself.

Note #2: I'm using a book, but the focus of the interview can be anything you want to accomplish. There are no limits in Mental Charlie Rose.

You: Pleasure to be here.

You smile (yes, you can do it, smile).

Charlie has your book (hard cover edition) in front of him. He pats it with his hand and leans in toward you. He's fascinated. He's curious. He wants to know.

CR: Where did the idea for this come from?

You: Well it's really a lot of different ideas coming together.

CR: But how. . .how specifically did you start the writing process? Did you just one day sit down and begin?

Charlie's voice becomes softer as he holds his hand in the air as if to emphasize lightness.

You: Uhm. Yes.

CR: But what was the central idea behind it? What drooove you to write it?

You: Money?

You both laugh. Charlie likes to laugh with his guests, but because this is all happening in your mind, it is up to you to get it back on track.

You: But seriously, when I first started writing it, I. . .

Here is where you start to talk, really talk, about your central idea, your reason for writing, your inspiration. Talk about your failures, trials, dispair and then the triumph which came from a simple turn of events. Talk to Charlie. He's listening. Let the ideas come out. Charlie's listening. He won't call you stupid. He won't cut you off. You can drink whatever you want out of the coffee cup. You can even smoke if you want to.

Keep talking, talking and talking. Talk aloud, talk quietly, move your lips, or talk in your head. Just keep talking. Charlie will let you. He might edit your segment later down to twenty minutes, but now you have all the time in the world.

You might be talking bullshit. You might be talking out your ass. It's okay. It's PBS. And maybe, just maybe in all the mental jabbering, a fragment comes out. Maybe that fragment will push out something that sorta resembles something like writing. Maybe that something is enough push a few words onto a page that become a few more and a few more. Maybe those few words even add up to idea. Ah-hah! An idea.

When you've got the idea, reach over, shake hands with your Mental Charlie Rose, and say, ‘thank you for having me'. Sometimes it's okay to go a little mental---Mental Charlie Rose that is.

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