Derrick Ferguson: Who Is Demond Thompson?
Demond Thompson: I’m a father of 2 and husband of 1. I get to do dope things with dope people, and I have an on-again off-again love affair with professional wrestling.
DF: Where do you live and what do you tell the IRS you do for a living?
DT: Jeffersonville, IN and I tell the IRS that I’m a massage therapist.
DF: How did you get started podcasting? What was the spark that made you say; “I can do this!”
DT: I bought a voice recorder from Best Buy and called some people I know. I’ve always liked getting to know people. I’ve been on television and radio previously so that part of it wasn’t really intimidating.
DF: How do you find your guests?
DT: At first, I asked interesting people that I know personally. Then I just send emails to people I thought would have good stories or at least provide stimulating conversation. Since then, I’ve asked previous guests after I interview them if they know anyone who’s interesting and would talk to me.
DF: Why just Six Questions? Why not eight? Ten? Twenty?
DT: Six is too many. I originally wanted only five! I’m talking to mostly strangers and Six Questions usually take an hour of time to record. I want to respect their time. Also, if I did 8, 10 or more, then I’d probably be still editing my first couple episodes.
DF: You’ve interviewed writers, film directors, comedians, professional wrestlers and mental health experts so is it fair to say that your podcast adequately reflects the variety and diversity of your personal interests?
DT: The Kevin Hart answer is Yes. While I do have a variety of interests, the guests I’ve interviewed all have interesting stories to tell and that’s what matters most. I really enjoy hearing stories about people’s lives, especially creatives. I do enjoy torturing the missionaries that come over to the house by asking them to tell me a memorable tale from their childhood. They nearly always deliver too!
DF: Who are the three people you haven’t interviewed yet that you would love to?
DT: Dave Chappelle, Mark Hamill, Dr. Cornel West. If you ask me another day, I’ll give you three more answers probably.
DF: One of the things I love about your podcast is that there’s no bloat or fat. Yet it never seems rushed and you manage to extract an extraordinary amount of information from your guests in a short amount of time. How do you achieve that?
DT: It’s a developed skill actually. If you sit and listen long enough, a person will tell you everything you need to know. During the interview itself, I listen and just ask questions. After the interview, I meticulously edit. Sometimes there’s some good stuff that gets cut for pacing reasons, and if it’s good I keep it to use another time.
DF: What is the future of your podcast? Do you see yourself still doing it five years from now?
DT: As long as there are people out there looking to talk to me about themselves and their interests, I’m in. I’ve also been kicking around the idea of adding segments to the show, talking about little known historical figures. The show will evolve as time goes on. Will it look the same in 5 years? If it does, I’ve messed up somewhere.
DF: What’s a typical Day In The Life of Demond Thompson like?
DT: Wake up way before the rest of the family. Workout, listen to podcasts, writing. I don’t really have a typical day because I’m still working on my bettering my focus.
Derrick Ferguson: Anything else we should know?
Demond Thompson: Depend on what you want to know. I have a weird work history, diverse group of friends for someone who lived in Indiana. I also stay crunchy in milk.
It never fails to amaze me how I can read a book and come away from the book thinking and/or feeling about it one way and then read that same book years later and come away with a totally different feeling. Maybe it was just the mood I’ve been in the last couple of days. I’ve been kinda of introspective and contemplative as I usually tend to get when the year winds down and while arraigning books in my bookcase, I took down Bill Friday’s A DEATH ON SKUNK STREET and on pure compulsion, read it.
First off, you have to understand that when it comes to poetry my appreciation of the art form begins and ends with Dr. Seuss. I simply never developed what I consider to be a proper appreciation of poetry so I never blame the poet if I don’t get the poetry.
But I’ve always liked Bill’s poetry as it has such a dark, witty sarcasm that greatly appeals to me and I liked A DEATH ON SKUNK STREET well enough when I first read it back in 2016 that I wrote a blurb for the book. But I’m a different Derrick Ferguson today from the one who read the book four years ago and a whole lot has changed for me emotionally and I suppose that’s why many of the poems in Bill’s remarkably intimate book have a whole new meaning for me as I caught myself time and time again, re-reading some of them two or even three times.
I have always admired Bill for his ability to be so concise in expressing such raw emotion so succinctly and conveying complex feelings with a deceptive simplicity that is also deeply profound. It’s not easy to do and my respects to Bill for being skillful and talented enough to do so.
The first time I read A DEATH ON SKUNK STREET it made me think. When I re-read it a few days ago, it made me feel. And in a subtle way, despite the angst and darkness in many of the poems, there’s also a lot of hope and wonder in them as well. In a very strange and unexpected way, A DEATH ON SKUNK STREET was a book I didn’t even know I needed to read but I’m glad I did.