Dear Mr. Maron,
Like many Americans, I was first introduced to your podcast when I learned that you had interviewed President Barack Obama. For the first time ever I subscribed to a podcast through an app on my phone to hear about your experience (snipers on the roof of your neighbor’s house!) and listen to your full interview with POTUS.
I loved the interview, became an immediate fan, and since then have listened to every episode of your show.
Why am I a fan? I like your style of interviewing people. You suss out people’s backgrounds. You ask questions unrelated to their current projects or what they may be promoting. And you express your feelings. Notice I said feelings and not opinions. There is something magical about a man being open and honest and trying not to give a shit about being judged for your feelings. Kudos.
But let me cut to the chase… This is a thank you letter.
I am thanking you for inspiring me to do one of the most important things I have ever done in my life: record an interview with a dying man.
I have been blogging here on my website ever since I was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2008. Through the Internet I have met many other people touched by this disease, but one who stands out is a man named David–who had the exact same diagnosis as me.
Over the years David and I became buddies of a sort. Through email, text messages and Facebook we checked in on each other every few months. We even met up in real life to do advocacy work around our disease with the National Brain Tumor Society.
I was beside myself when I found out David’s cancer was becoming more aggressive in early 2015. And when he started hospice in the fall I felt like I was getting stabbed in the throat.
Of course, these feelings were as much about myself as they were about David. Whatever was happening to him was what I had to look forward to if/when the disease started acting up inside of me.
I wanted to do something to help, to act, but I didn’t know what I could do.
One evening, as I was listening to your podcast, an idea popped into my mind, and I knew with full clarity what I should do.
I need to see David. I wanted to interview him… Just like you interview people each week on your podcast.
I wanted to record a conversation with David, the man, not just the person with brain cancer. I wanted to know him. What his life was like growing up. What his wife meant to him, and how it affected him after she died. I wanted to know if he was scared of dying. And I knew if I did this that I was going to react with feelings and that it was OK to have feelings.
After receiving permission from David, I booked a flight from northern California to Minneapolis and met up with him. He treated me to an epic dinner at a fancy restaurant where we ordered pretty much everything on the menu. David did not shy away from enjoying the best things and life. I observed how a man, nearing life’s end, wanted to soak up every pleasure. He ordered a wine paring with every dish! He peer pressured me into eating an oyster! He ordered three desserts.
The next morning I took an Uber to his house and I set up my phone to record an interview.
Marc, you were on my mind when I started the interview. I was thinking, “How would Marc Maron do this?”
If you listen to the interviews (part 1 and part 2) you can tell I am by no means a pro. But I got a chance to ask the fun questions, and then the hard questions. Part 2 is when I get into asking questions about the end of life, dying and death. It was hard to ask those questions.
We laughed. We cried.
I made the recordings available online and David was able to share them with his friends and family before his death. I have received many touching messages from David’s loved ones thanking me for interviewing him. They have found peace and joy in hearing his voice, even after his death.
My original intent for recording an interview was selfish, but receiving the thanks from David’s people is a bonus I never imagined I would experience in my life.
Mr. Maron, thank you for the podcast that you do. Thank you for inspiring me to do one of the most important things I have ever done in my life.