“Only a fool would try to improve on fact”: Amy Bloom on Research

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From the Washington Post | The Writing Life | “Lies, Memories, and Other Research” | published Wednesday, April 22, 2009:

I read every book I could find that might explain me to myself (The Child From Five to Ten; Little Women) or explain adults (Polly Adler’s memoir of a New York madam; all my father’s Playboy magazines, which suggested that I would soon be morphing into an astonishing creature and that adult men were simultaneously very powerful and very weak, an idea I was to encounter in much of my other reading) or explain the larger world (all newspapers, especially the front page and the comics; the yellow pages of any phone book; and A Child’s History of the World, which was popular in the 1930s, very white, sophisticatedly Christian — there is a God, but he approves of evolution — Eurocentric and charming).

I discovered that people in pain often lashed out at other, weaker people, unless they couldn’t bring themselves to hurt others, and then they hurt themselves; I concluded that there did not seem to be a God or alien life forms; I decided that treating others as I wished to be treated was a good idea. But there were still a million other things to find out: How were shoes made before people had machines? How was anything made before we had machines? Silverware, cathedrals, saddles, doorknobs? I wanted more than anything to be a time traveler and visit every century, although in my daydreams, I had toothpaste, anti-perspirant, a transistor radio and a lighter.

Read the rest of the article in full and watch a video interview of Amy Bloom at Washington Post’s Arts and Living : Books

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