The woman who thinks like a cow
My path crossed Temple Grandin's in 2008 while HBO was making a movie about her life. I wish my story was peppered with more Hollywood glamour, like I was writing for People or O Magazine. Nope.
Writing about milking machines
I was hired to write an anniversary book for Lely, a haybaler and robotic milk equipment company. When you see round bales of hay in the field all rolled up nicely in a plastic suit, most likely a Lely machine did that.
The folks at Lely gave me a wish list of contributors to their book, including Temple Grandin. Was I prepared to interview a famous author, professor, scientist, and amazingly intelligent autistic woman?
Good interview advice any day of the week
I called the most experienced writer I know, Lisa Friedman, and asked advice about interviewing the fascinating Temple Grandin. She let me borrow a Temple book and gave a few tips like, "Stick to your questions. Keep it structured. Don't try to be funny or sarcastic. Stick with the facts," Lisa Friedman advised. Good tips for any interview, really.
Temple and her assistant both proudly told me about the HBO movie special, but it would be another two years before Temple's story hit the big screen. Here is a snippit of my interview Temple Grandin before the HBO movie came out.
Temple Grandin on the American dairy cow
"Today, we’ve pushed the dairy cow’s biology to the point where she is falling apart. If you select an animal for more productivity, other parts of the animal suffer. Instead of trying to improve the cow, why don’t we leave her alone? I’m inspired that consumers are showing more interest in animal welfare. If the tide continues, consumers will insist that animals are treated right, worldwide," said Temple Grandin in a phone interview in September 2008.
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Interview for Lely, September 2008
Dr. Temple Grandin, Author and Professor of Animal Science
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