Terry Gross

All I Did Was Ask: Conversations with Writers, Actors, Musicians, and Artists

“I'm trying to encourage introspection, hoping for a reply that might lead to a revelation about my guest's life that might lead, in turn, to a revelation about his art.”

A venerable witness of human life for more than four decades, Terry Gross (1951 – ), through her radio program, Fresh Air has engaged hundreds of individuals for conversation, discovery, disclosure and general expression.

All I Did Was Ask is a small collection of written interviews with people in the arts, including Chuck Close, Nick Hornby, Jodie Foster, James Baldwin and Larry Rivers.

With empathy, curiosity and intelligence, Terry Gross explores Samuel L. Jackson’s self-consciousness as a sex-symbol, Maurice Sendak’s fear of angels and the origins of comedy with Chris Rock. Gross also unearths, unintentionally, a rather boorish persona from Gene Simmons.

“I’m trying to encourage introspection,” Terry Gross writes simply. I like her interview with Paul Schrader, writer of Taxi Driver, and native of my hometown, Grand Rapids, Michigan. He admits to Gross that his movies were (astoundingly) influenced by a childhood without movies.