oneself. Also, after working with the homeless for many years, Ithought it would be somewhat obscene to create a character of ahomeless person, to appear to appropriate someone else’s story,when the story was in fact my own, my father’s.
2. How long did it take to write the book? Could you tell mesomething about the experience of "researching" one's own family'spast and your own past?
Nf-I spent the first two years, before I knew it would become a book,interviewing my father on videotape. This was how I first got toknow him, about five years after he got off the streets. I would takethe tapes home and transcribe my father’s stories, absorb the cadenceof his voice, and then I began what would become the book. It took me seven years after that to finish. The research felt very much likethe research for any project-tracking down witnesses, findingdocuments, piecing together fragments.
3. -I can imagine it had to be rather painful to start such a project,how did you cope with that, what mechanisms as an author did youestablish to get through the process of writing this book?Nf-well, each of my books has presented their own challenges, notthe least of which has been the complicated emotions that areunearthed. I’ve learned that without these emotions the writingisn’t as surprising, doesn’t have the same tension. That said, Imarshaled all of my resources to get through the rough parts,primarily the network of friends I’ve been blessed with who keepme centered.
Your book is quite unsentimental in its tone. What helped you tobe able to find a distance to what you write?Nf-during the years of writing I spent some time in Vietnam, sometime in Tanzania, and to be in places where the people have truly