Bat Segundo Hiatus

I spent two weeks reading close to 2,000 pages of an author’s work. I wanted to give this author the respect that his work deserved. But this author threw a temper tantrum. The author first suggested that I was talking too loud. (When I played back the audio to my girlfriend, she strained to hear my voice.) Then the author asked me to offer questions pertaining to the “theme” in the book that weren’t “specific.” So I did. But this author couldn’t answer. Didn’t have the chops. And it saddened me to hear the lifelessness in this author’s voice. I then said, “You know, I don’t think this interview is working out,” with the idea of trying to determine what the hell was going on. The author then stormed off and said, “Thank you.”

The hell of it was that The Bat Segundo show has always been a place where people can be who they are. But this author was too terrified of having his work taken seriously, of being who he really is. And that’s the saddest thing of all.

So that’s two weeks of work that I could have given to several other authors. Two weeks of work that I could have spent writing. Two weeks of work that was wasted on this author. It did not help that all this occurred shortly after I lost a part-time job that I needed to stay alive.

There comes a point when priorities reshuffle.

So I’ve decided to cancel the majority of my interviews (I have three more still on the schedule) and take a hiatus of indeterminate length from The Bat Segundo Show. Probably for the rest of the year. Maybe longer. I don’t know. I apologize to all the authors I’ve had to bail on. (I have maintained my interview appointments for the most recent three authors.) I really wanted to talk with all of them. But this author’s unprofessional behavior really did a number on me. And I’m not in the mood to read much right now. Not unless someone’s going to pay me for it.

I will probably put up one or two shows that are in my backlog in the meantime. But I’ve always maintained that if what I do isn’t fun, then I have no interest in doing it. And right now, The Bat Segundo Show, which should be fun, isn’t.

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26 Comments

  1. I’m very sorry to hear this. It can be plenty hard enough to handle such behavior when it’s your day-to-day job, but when it’s a true labor of love and you’re struggling to pay the bills, well, I can only imagine.

    I sincerely hope you find the time and the joy again. And, I sincerely thank you for all of the hard work on the authors’ and listeners’ behalf so far.

  2. Disappointing but understandable, Ed. Sometimes a step back is important. Sorry it came under these conditions.

  3. Sad to hear this Ed. Makes me think about the whole “one person can ruin it for everyone” maxim. One of the few people who’s interviews and style I respect and try to learn from.

    At the very least, you should name names. No? Ruins it for you and us and then gets to skate free? Seems shameful.

  4. Ed, you’re a more interesting writer than many of the folks you interview. So, if fewer interviews mean we’ll be seeing more of your own writing and blogging, I’m all for it.

  5. [...] Bat Segundo Hiatus 2 10 2009 Bat Segundo Hiatus : Edward Champion?s Reluctant Habits [...]

  6. Douglas Stewart October 2, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    If the author in question shares my first name, it did seem like a very tense conversation. If it wasn’t him, then I feel doubly bad for the additional interview described above that you had to go through.

    Please (if you didn’t plan to) when the show returns, keep the feed addresses the same- a lot of times a show will go away for a bit, come back under an altered feed, and fans won’t know of the comeback for a while.

    Good luck and thanks for all the great work you’ve made so far.

  7. Sorry to hear about what sounds like a truly terrible experience. Hope taking a breather helps. I only started listening to the show recently (after you were interviewed on The Marketplace of Ideas podcast), and I’ve found the work you do insightful, probing, and intelligent. You’ve turned me on to a lot of interesting authors who’d somehow managed to fly under the radar, and you always manage to get something good out of the old hats on book tour (the most recent T.C. Boyle and Marilynne Robinson interviews were excellent). Hope your indefinite hiatus doesn’t become permanant, I appreciate the show.

  8. Artists are emotional & temperamental.

    And as to the 2 weeks, hopefully you at least enjoyed the reading you did.

    Please decompress and come back.

  9. Ed, as my father used to say me, “Get back on that goddamned horse, you little faggot.” He would then hit me. What I’m trying to say is, I need Bat Segundo. Come to think of it, though, I never did get back on the horse. Dad had a heart attack right there in front of me. Died. So the moral of the story, I guess, is keep on keeping on, unless the thing that holds you accountable to keep on keeping on dies of a heart attack. We’re not gonna die, Ed. We’re all healthy.

    ps–you can tell me, was it richard ford? that guy is a total douche.

  10. oh, hiatus. i get it now. phish went on hiatus for like a year then they realized they were totally gay for jamming.

    i hope it doesn’t take a year for you to realize you’re totally gay for doing great interviews with great authors.

    peace

  11. Very sorry to hear it.

  12. Bummer! but I think you’re right….if you aren’t loving it…it’s time for a break. Hope to see it back soon and you refreshed!

  13. Maybe the author WAS being who he really is: temperamental, terrified and lifeless.

  14. Oh no… gutted to read this. But can understand knowing the endless hours of work you put into the show. Hope a break will help you find the joy again somehow. Thank you for all these years of quality listening.

  15. I’ve only listened to the show for a few months, but I’ve bought several books and rented a couple movies based on these interviews that I never would’ve found otherwise. I love the show; get some rest and come back refreshed.

  16. Ed, I think the wealth of comments on your most recent post should demonstrate how much your work on this site is appreciated.

    However you spend your time during this hiatus, I trust it will yield interesting results. Aside from consistently engaging Segundo installments, your “corporate shill?” video excerpt series and short report on the Pitt. protest crackdown represent very worthwhile endeavors. And your review of “Cap. A Love Story” provides a much needed critique of pop social documentary practice.

    Keep fuckin’ that chicken.

  17. I seldom donate money on the internet, because I am afraid. But this seems like an appropriate time to do it. Anyone else?

  18. Ed,

    Don’t let one asshole ruin it for you. Seriously.

    By the way, who was it?

  19. It sounds like this person was just better on paper than in real life. It happens. When writing, there’s plenty of time to ponder and give a response, but interviewing is different. This wasn’t a person who could give a decent response when put on the spot, apparently. Heck, maybe they even had a ghost writer, who knows? You gave it a shot, it sounds like, and it didn’t work out. It’s not your fault, but your disappointment is justified.

    You put more thought into your interviews than anyone I can think of, and you’re not even paid to do it! I’m surprised that someone hasn’t snatched you and the Bat man up already, like Writer’s Digest. Your audience is one that is more educated, that reads, and is maybe even a bit eccentric. That’s not a large pool (compared to say, your average Time magazine reader) but I bet there’s an audience beyond this blog. You have some huge names! I wonder if it might be better (from a financial standpoint) to compile these interviews in a book, or write a memoir about your experience with Bat Segundo. Which isn’t why you do it, but I think you deserve to be compensated for all your work somehow. A memoir about the show…I’d buy it! Certainly I’d stop if it’s not fun anymore, but it sounds like you just got a rotten egg.

  20. I don’t know what’s the usual fee for podcasts, but I know that Dan Carling asks for a buck a show.
    So the way I see it, I owe mr. Champion 310 dollars, because I have enjoyed every podcast he (and Sarah) has made.
    Right now I can only afford to donate 40 dollars, and I have, and I feel a little better. I like this new internet thing (me old), where “supporting quality” actually means something.

  21. Whoops, just realized I sound patronizing, as I might be the only person not donating regularly. Sorry.

  22. I have listened to several TC Boyle interviews with you and have not only enjoyed them because I am a huge TC Boyle fan, but delighted in the way you conducted the interview…indepth, enlightened, and interesting as hell…sorry the author who dissed you turned you off…you will be missed…good luck with all you decide to take on.

  23. If you want to go on strike, just say the word. We’ll go down to the Met and form a picket line. “Culture goes on strike.” That would be fucking rad.

  24. That’s really said, Ed. Did anything the writer wrote suggest he’d be so scared and yet belligerent?
    Two thousand written pages and he couldn’t talk to you?
    So strange. Hope things pick up fast. Much as I hate part-time jobs, I couldn’t live without them either.

  25. Ed,

    My condolences on the poor humanity that showed itself to you. I have to agree with an above comment that many authors/artists are not that swell in person and are better digested through the buffer of their work. I have met and worked with many “respectable” and “lauded” authors who, in the end, only made me doubt their efforts and work all the more for knowing how they acted in person, which, to me, is becoming increasingly more important than how you look on paper.

    Good luck in finding a new part-time job. We look forward to your return.

    Cheers.

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