tv 2019 Wisconsin Book Festival CSPAN October 19, 2019 5:35pm-8:01pm EDT
whether you are liberal or conservative, whether democrat or republican, can you honestly look at these two investigations and say, by the way, these two investigations which were conducted by the same agents, the same investigators, the same justice department personnel, and say that they did blind justice? there's not a chance. >> to watch the rest of the program visit our website at booktv.org. search for andrew mccarthy or the title of his book "ball of collusion" using the box at the top of the page. we are back live at the seventh annual wisconsin book festival. here is former olympic figure skater adam rippon. [inaudible] >> one second adam. i'm going to introduce you. [laughter] my name is connor moran, the director of the wisconsin book festival. thank you all for coming to see adam rippon tonight. [applause]
a couple of notes for you, please silence your cell phones as always. also, if you'd like to ask the question this evening, right over here in front of the wisconsin book festival banner there is a microphone, we are joined across the nation on c-span booktv today so please ask your question from the microphone. also as a special treat, artist will santino is here and will be graphic recording throughout the event. writing down things they discussed, questions we ask and then his piece of art will be on display after stop here is angela batista from ã [applause] >> ãbi want to give a big thank you to madison public library, the madison public library foundation and all our amazing sponsors for making
this whole thing possible. thank you. and thank you for coming out to the wisconsin book festival to hear adam rippon talk about his new book "beautiful on the outside" i don't think he needs an intro, everybody in this room probably knows him. if you don't, get a tv. [laughter] check your internet. or read this book. he is the first openly gay u.s. male figure skater. he stole all of our hearts and even after that he went on to win season 26 of dancing with the stars because. [cheering] [applause] because why not? because he couldn't just be good at one thing, you had to go ahead and do other things. welcome. >> thank you so much. the story i wanted to tell was that i know this started at 4:30 p.m. and i thought, i had
walked here early in the day, i thought i knew i was going. [laughter] and i didn't. [laughter] then right before we came out here everybody was calling me they are like, where are you? i'm like i'm here so every thought i was dead but i'm alive and very well now. [laughter] thank god, right? >> tell me why did you decide to write a book? >> i decided that i wanted to write a book because, i know it seems like maybe it's a little early, i know i look so young. [laughter] but i felt like in my life my whole athletic career felt like one giant chapter and it feels like that chapter is ending and the new one is beginning. i went through a lot and i learned a lot about myself and
about life in general and i really wanted to share this experiences. in this book i share a lot about the failures that i've had because in those moments i feel like i learned the most about myself. it's sort of like ties into the beautiful on the outside title. >> can you explain the title a little bit more? >> yes i can. there's like two things to it. the first thing, i'm not a writer by trade. i do consider myself like a storyteller so i wanted to write something that basically sounded like you were having a conversation with me and we were sitting on the couch together. then i was trying to think of a title and basically the only thing i wanted to do was to have a title that was like funny and stupid and a picture that was just as dumb. [laughter] but then when you start doing a lot of media they are lit, we know you aren't that shallow. what is the real meaning? i'm just kind of like, ã
[laughter] first of all, thank you. [laughter] second of all, what was the question again? [laughter] then i started really thinking about it, like god couldn't have cursed me with this title and blessed me with it at the same time. i was like what is the deeper meaning? for me the deeper meaning is like all the times i failed it wasn't until i embraced those moments and didn't try to put on this beautiful on the outside exterior when i wasn't feeling so hot about myself. when i embrace those things that's really when i was able to be the most successful. >> i also just want to say the cover is absolutely iconic. [laughter] for something that is wonderfully camp about it.
you are so serious yet so silly, and as you say, dumb at the same time. >> how dumb do you have to be to do this? you have to be very dumb. [laughter] and im. [laughter] >> so perfect. you have such a really natural and quick wit about you, just even talking with you and seeing you in interviews. it always seemed so effortless. was it different or difficult for you to distill that in your writing? >> sometimes while i was writing i realize i was given too much power. because in an everyday situation you have like one second and it passes by and i tried to take advantage of that second but when you are writing something, you have more than a second.he go back and make a joke go on for a paragraph, which i tried to throw in as many things as possible because when i was reading different memoirs, my favorite memoir is tina fey bossy pants.
you guys have good taste. [laughter] i was thinking, this book had a mother it was be bossy pants. he wanted to be written in the same vein that you'd be reading and learn about this person, me, and he would also laugh out loud along the way. i always use humor in my life, i learned it as a coping mechanism for a long time and then i realized it was like a talent of mine. a lot of talent i have. [laughter] >> were you always this entertainer? >> always. i think i feel like the most myself when i'm in front of a lot of people and when i can make people laugh and i can make people really enjoy a moment. i think were really long time i
use my skating as that outlet and it wasn't until the later part of my career that i even realize that i had my best competitions when i just reminded myself and told myself, it's just a performance, it's just a performance. it's a show. i let everybody else do the competing and i focused on just performing for everyone. i naturally was doing it off the ice but i think as i got older i got more comfortable to do it in interviews, competitions and then at the olympics there's just like interview after interview. it's like how many times can you joke about diarrhea? [laughter] i found out a lot of times.[laughter] and it never gets old. >> i found myself laughing out loud in a coffee shop multiple times because of diarrhea jokes. thank you for those moments. >> you are welcome.[laughter] >> when i was reading this book
i thought, i got the sense that you are very superstitious and he believed in omens, signs, are you into ãbastrology? >> yes. >> if you read the book you know his birthday is coming up november 11, your scorpio. it makes sense. when i was reading this book i thought, this is just a story of this really wild crazy saturn return for you. >> nobody said that out loud. it makes a lot of sense to me. >> it does. if you aren't versed in astrology or have a costar app, there's a time in your life it's usually in your late 20s in summary things are changing and for you that was going to the olympics. how do you look back on that? >> i had friends that have gone to the olympics as well and
they've met old and some of them have one and before i ever qualified i thought, i want that moment. what i didn't make the team in 2014 i realized when i had those friends that nothing really changed. they were still the same people i always knew and i felt like this moment was going to define me for the rest of my life. i needed to have this moment and once i realized it was just another event it was just something to go to, i was able to relieve some of that stress. and that's why when i went to the olympics i was able to have this great experience because i had a better understanding of what it was. for many athletes when they medal at the olympics they talk about that moment on the podium like it's the moment they waited for their entire life. for me it was an incredible
moment, i'm there with my teammates from the team event, some of whom i've known forever, i can see my family, i can see the flag being risen, i can hear the national anthem, not ours, we didn't win. [laughter] but i hear a national anthem and i'm like oh that's so nice. . and we are all there and in that moment i realized that that was like a moment for my family. it was a moment for my coaches and for me the moment was just being at the olympics it was like this whole embodiment of what the whole experience meant to me when i left the olympics and now when i look back i realize the moment i had been waiting for was the opportunity and chance to like introduce myself to the world. >> i look back on it too and i realized it wasn't that long ago. you kinda burst onto the scene and everyone fell in love with
you. >> thanks. [laughter] but i didn't realize at the time what that really meant for you to go to the olympics when you were 28. in the journey that you had going up to it. thank you for writing this book, now i know what it took. i imagine your mom is so proud of you. this book is about as much about your mom almost as it is about you and she made a lot of sacrifices. can you talk a little bit about that. >> shirt. i think to be an olympic athlete it takes a whole team of people behind you to get there. you can't get there on your own and in skating it's not like some other team sport where you can be really good and you can be recruited and then you are on this team and the coaches are taking care of the whole staff was there and then if you get traded somewhere, like i really don't know how it works but. [laughter] that happens and they are like, a trade?
oh. good work? sometimes it's good. in skating it's your parent who's in charge of all the decisions and sometimes the parent has no idea what they are doing. a lot of times because they are not skaters and don't have that experience. sometimes it's like the blind leading the blind. the two people are making the decision, who are making a decision for you to find like a world level coach for you to go after your dreams as an adult who doesn't know what they are doing and a 10-year-old who feels like they know everything. [laughter] it's a winning team for sure. [laughter] i think my mom, do you know the drill? i think that with my mom, my mom was, she did everything she could to make sure i could go after my dreams.
we had moments of like, we had our ups and downs but i think we had them because i was becoming an adult and i didn't want to pressure feeling like i was letting my family down. i did want the pressure feeling like my mistakes would hold my family back or my brothers and sisters from opportunities that they had because i'm the oldest of six kids. i didn't want such a financial burden on my family because of doing something i was doing so there came a point where i said, i have to do this on my own and if i can't do it on my own is just not meant to be. of course my mom at first thought it was like me throwing everything away but i knew it was something i needed to do and it took my mom and i a minute to get back to a really good place because i think my mom also felt like it was me being like, hey ãthanks for 20 years.
i will call you. [laughter] it wasn't like that. it was me trying to step into my own. it took a while for my mom to see that. >> you talk about basically breaking off, striking off financially from your mother but that also meant basically starting from bottom for you to stop you had no money at all. how was that?>> not good. [laughter] it was like on a scale from 1 to 10, 10 being the best. it was closer to one. i moved out to california seven years ago. at first i moved to the small mountain town lake arrowhead which it's like la, i tell people, ãbthey didn't need to know it was like a mountain town in san bernardino. i was living in la and when i
was there i had a little bit of money from one competition i had done right before i moved out there and that's basically all i had. i had maybe like $2000. you are like, okay you can make it work. but when you are a skater you have all your coaching expenses, the ice time, to find a gym to work out and that's all before you also moved there on a one-way ticket without a car and no apartment. so you are like $2000 is gone and like one second. andy scates, you are pointing to your skates. those too, i guess you need those. i didn't have a place to live.
my coach said, how's it going? i was like, not great. he offered to let me live in his basement. i lived in his basement. then all the sudden, i have a place to live and this town isn't very big so i can walk everywhere. now i don't really have a lot of money for groceries or anything comes up. i don't have a wiggle room for anything. also, i started a bank account with b,80 so that i found from random competitions i had gone to. so i go to the bank and i'm what, do you accept these? [laughter] i had just walked from europe. [laughter] do you accept b,80? luckily they did. [laughter] there was two options for banks there was bank of america, which like i had heard of, then the bank of arrowhead. i was like that is a pyramid scheme and are not to go there. i think i made the right
choice. i then didn't have a lot of money for food but i realized that i had this loophole that the gym ãbi was looking pretty good. the gym that i ãbi can't wait to see that. b,80. the gym i was going to have this huge bowl of apples and taws ot so i had no money so i said i will take all these apples. i might be poor but at least i can be drinking expensive tea. i was well hydrated and it was definitely not can have scurvy. >> you are also allergic to apples. >> yes but at the time i was allergic to money too. so i had to choose the lesser of the two evils. [laughter] >> being and competitive figure
skating i imagine it weighs a whole lot under self-worth. how did you handle your failures? >> it weighs a lot on your self-worth but you also, you can't weigh a lot either. having all the apples was helpful. i think i used to be really embarrassed by the setbacks that i had and i think for a while i felt defined by those failures. i thought, i'm this kid from scranton pennsylvania who kind of makes it in skating and is like a good skater but at the end of the day when it comes to really making it, always come so close and then doesn't follow through. that was like an identity that i felt was me and i felt like
that's who i was that i would always get to this point and then it just wouldn't, i wouldn't be able to dig take the next step. then i realized that that was sort of an identity that i made for myself, nobody told me that. i just decided that myself so if i could decide that was my destiny, i could also change it too because if i was that powerful, then maybe i could use my powers for good. that's what i wanted to do. i had to change my mindset but i wasn't able to change it until i really felt like at rock bottom. which for me was like not making the olympic team twice in a row. because at the second time i was already 24, it felt really late for me to try and qualify at 28, four years later, for the first time. it's not something that happens. it's not a normal thing. i just felt really like it was
over. i think it took me getting to rock-bottom for me to do things that i was scared of. it took me nothing to be afraid to do anything but i didn't feel like i had anything to lose. it's a mindset i still try to keep today because it's when i started to have the most success because i wasn't afraid of failure. i think for a long time i was afraid to fail and then when i did, i felt like i was repeating the cycle. then all of a sudden when i realized that every point that you get to is just another starting point for another opportunity, which is easier said than done it's way harder to actually think that way but every time i felt that way anytime i would have some sort of setback i never thought that way and i was able to move forward. >> now that you are in your
post olympic life. do you still worry about failures? >> there are moments of course. i think everybody does. i think it's like a normal emotion for everyone to have is to be worried about failures. but the one thing i'm really grateful for in my sport career, sporting career, i don't know why i had so much trouble saying that, i think the one thing i'm really grateful is that i saw that when i did have failures i was able to move forward. i was able to still move on. i was still okay. i think it was the fear of not knowing it you're going to be okay. in this different career path i've taken i think that i want to really remember those moments of feeling unafraid and
feeling like i had nothing to lose because i just went and i went for it and i didn't worry about what other people thought and it's a mindset that still stuck with me. but of course the fears of failure are still there but i think the feeling of being unafraid and just going after it is so much stronger. that voice is so much stronger now. >> a kind of want to talk about homophobia in figure skating. because i thought, it's figure skating, like? how did that work? how does homophobia work in u.s. figure skating? >> i would tell you that in the later part of my career i was really lucky because i think i was such a ãthat nobody was going to mess around with me. everybody else was 17, 16, there was a lot of younger kids that were really good.
to be 28 and skating your best is normal. it's not normal. when i went to the olympics i was almost 30 and my competitors weren't even 20. there is a huge gap and they are on that track that i thought i was on for so long. i think i had to remind myself that everyone's success is on a different timeline.there's not some sort of ãbthe timeline for success. i think we look to examples of people who have done it and if you've never done it and you haven't done it yet maybe it's never going to happen and i started talking and i completely forgot what you asked me. [laughter] i just started talking, 17, 18 all of a sudden ã [laughter] >> i wanted to know how homophobia plays out? >> how did i get today are? [laughter] oh boy. this imagine to be in my head for a minute.
[laughter] homophobia. i think that, when i was young, where i grew up i didn't see any gay people. i'm sure they were around. but i didn't even know what being gay was. i found out. [laughter] but while i was skating i would sometimes get these little critiques, can you butch it up? don't skate like a girl. don't do this, don't try these certain elements. i took that advice and it wasn't until i got a little bit older than i realized that there was like an undertone, you need to change it up. you need to not be what might
outwardly be perceived as gay. nobody said anything to me personally where like, you have to not share who you are or anything like that. it was just these little digs that i got. like my entire career. on that same topic, i felt that when there were other competitors on ãthey were really praised for being a normal boy who had a girlfriend and they were more forward putting out this image of what i think they thought would be like more mainstream of what would be more acceptable like if there was a gay person in figure stating it was already the stereotype anyway and it would maybe scare other boys from joining or looking into
skating lessons or it would make them not want to be a skater. it was just sort of this vicious cycle where i would have these people sometimes tell me these little things. a lot of times may be 99 percent of the time it was an official who was a gay man telling you this. i think they honestly said these things not from a place of hate, i think they said them ãbto protect me from may be moments that they had. and different critiques they had gotten in their own life. i think they were saying them out of a place like from man to man, let me tell you switch it up. but i really feel like for me personally i was my best when i
was out. because i think a person who has a coming-out experience that so liberating where you have to own who you are in front of whomever you are coming out to, it's a moment of liberation. i felt really liberated after i had done that. i also felt really strong and i felt more confident and i brought that into my training where i could go to my coach and be like, i wrote out a plan for us to do this and this is what i think we should do and i became really involved in what i was doing because i felt smart and i felt like i knew what i was doing and i felt good in my own skin. when i came out publicly in my skating career i did it because it was right after i had not qualified for the sochi olympics, which were in socially russia and russia had come up with the anti-gay propaganda law which we didn't
know what it meant. but after not qualifying for the team i thought, i really want to say something. i wanted to make sure i was in like the best shape of my life because in that year past not making it to the 2014 olympics i wasn't. i was going to be like, i'm gay! and not very good. [laughter] i was like, i have to pull it together so it's not like, oh great. that's ours. i'm like, i'm sorry, i'm not good. so it was really important to me that i would be like a really good representative of my community. i think i also realized that the things i like to watch were people who were ãhe felt like they really knew themselves. i brought that into my performances and i think some of my performances were like some of the gayest performances i've ever had.
but i really liked what i was doing, i didn't feel like it was offensive. i didn't feel like it was too over-the-top. i felt like it showcased me to the best of my ability and that's why i did it. for all those comments that i've gotten, i can tell you that like that rings true in every sense of the word. it doesn't matter who anybody is or what where any judge is from, that will ring true that they want to see that. they don't know why they like it or maybe it might not be there cup of tea, maybe they don't like gay t. but if you are out there and doing something you enjoy, there is this innate attraction to you because people enjoy watching other people live in these experiences. i even have had experiences, in the last few seasons of my career, and at a competition
and i skate like the program i skated at the olympics to like the ãsong. i was at a smaller event where russian judge came up to me after the competition was over, which is kind of a normal thing, they will tell you a critique or something, something they've heard in a judges meeting to help your score or whatever, it sounds shady when i say it out loud. [laughter] don't worry about it. she came up to me and her english wasn't very good but she was like, your program, your program. i was ready for her to be like, have to change it. she's like this heavy lady with some bad haircut. she was like, you need more. [laughter] i was like, she's actually the person i was afraid of of like what will they think.
she was telling me that she was enjoying watching me in that moment and that i should do my best to hold back not at all. that was the real lesson for me that, that's what we all like to see. >> i'm obsessed with that program. and i've seen earlier versions of it or you don't and with a dip. i like that dip so much. >> and knew it was important. . that's why i changed it, for you. [laughter] >> thank you. i think it's so great to see ice-skating b geyer which is a weird thing to say. i also think of karina montoya and joe johnson. it's so great to see elements of queer culture make their way into ice-skating. >> the one thing that i think is that i think especially in my sport which which is an artistic sport so often this
line that people like to draw in the sand where like it there are two men competing there is the artist and the athletes. you have to pick a side and you have to be on that side. the artist is considered to be the weaker one, and they are perceived as like the more delicate, the fragile, they are so beautiful but they are troubled. [laughter] the athlete is like, they got it, the strong one and there is more dominant seeming person, like they are the athlete, they are the killer, they are the ones who will go after it. that, i feel, is not the case. i think sometimes artistry is sometimes seen as more feminine than athleticism. i think that line in the sand that line in the sand is almost like lots of different layers
that are rooted in almost misogyny. the artistry and femininity are considered less than masculinity, which is in the case which i think has a lot of men not wanting to dance and express themselves fully because they don't want to be perceived as maybe the artist and then maybe have this mindset of others around them thinking that they are weaker because of that. i think when i could go out there and when i could compete i never felt like i wasn't the athlete and i was the artist i felt like just a really good competitor. i was never the best. >> ãi was never the best.
>> i was shocked when i found out i was the best. but i think in a way, it made me more comfortable to say things and to try things because the pressure wasn't the same. i was good. but i think that because i was a little bit more under the radar when i was like a competitive athlete it gave me more room to try things because it wasn't like, i knew when i was at the olympics the biggest asset for me being on that team was to be like the person who was going to help us win a medal. so that's what my main goal was to be when i was on that team. i knew it wasn't to get an individual medal but i knew it was to be an asset to get our team medal. i think in that space that i was given more opportunities to speak my mind and to take bigger risks that i think people who are just so close
would be afraid to take. >> speaking of speaking her mind, i'm from indiana so i kind of have to talk about this a little bit. >> i know where this is going. >> i'm sorry i have to ask about this. he openly criticized mike pence, do you ever think about that and think about what that call would've been like? >> i sometimes think about it. right now, i've been on the book tour and sometimes i will do like a few hours i won't see my cell phone, which is hard for me. but every time i grab it i always think, like i wonder if anyone is in jail now. i'm just like, swiping and refreshing and like i wonder where rudy giuliani is? [laughter] i just keep refreshing. [laughter] i digress.
when i was getting ready for the olympics i said i wanted to have the full experience and for me that meant answering questions i was given honestly and meant answering experiences and then being the most prepared athlete i could be because i knew i had this big mouth and i was saying things that a lot of athletes don't say. for instance, ã [laughter] i have vivid memories of, we do these press calls before we do international competitions, during these press calls you will have anywhere between 5 to 10 journalists and they will ask you how you are doing and all that. i can very distinctly remember, bless you, before some of these calls having a bad practice and being like ãbdon't forget the
call. adam, how's it going? i'm like, ã [laughter] i don't think i've ever been more ready in my entire life. [laughter] i think i could win. then you get off the phone and you're like, i can't believe i lied so hard. i said, when i'm getting ready for the olympics, i'm going to be honest. if someone asks if i'm nervous, i'm going to say yes i'm nervous it's the olympics. how are things going? i hope well but i feel like right now i'm dying right now. that also meant answering questions that would be tough to answer. i wanted to answer things like, i would answer them if we had met at a starbucks together. i would answer any of that honestly.
i remember i had one interview this is maybe like four weeks before the olympics and i was doing so much press before olympics. i think i did maybe like three or four interviews every morning before i would go to practice and then it would be like some random interview i couldn't get scheduled in the morning i would have in the afternoon. i remember that this was after practice and i was at the rink and i wanted to take the call, still going well, and i wanted to take this call while i was at the rink i do want to be driving because i didn't want to lose my signal because there's one spot on the 405 i knew i would lose my signal. the rink i trained at wasn't glamorous. it was in california we called them ralph's. like a grocery store not like
whole foods but like festival. so picture an old festival foods. [laughter] they guarded it. the flaps need to walk they were still there. it's in the strip mall where there's like a coals next door and like a taco bell across the way. i move my car so people don't think i'm weird sitting in the car and i do something weirder and drive to the taco bell parking lot. when i'm in the taco bell parking lot i have this interview and before the interview starts with this woman i've known for a really long time, her name is christine brennan, she is a freelance writer but writing a piece for usa today. before asking me any questions, she says i just want to remind you that anything you say in this interview, it will be amplified because you are now
an olympian and it's just going to have more attention then i think anything you ever said will have. i said, i am ready for that. [laughter] she asked me a bunch of like warm-up questions, how are you feeling? i'm like amazing. she's like are you ready?i said hell yeah. she said what you think of mike pence leaving the athlete delegation?she throws it in. unlike christine, i know what you're doing. thanks for laughing. [laughter] christine asked me this question and i have this moment where and what, if i'm really going to answer these questions honestly, like now in this taco bell parking lot. i say, i don't think it's a thought out choice.
i don't think mike pence represents me and i don't think he represents a lot of the other athletes. he doesn't have the same values or same morals that i have. he is someone who has gone out of his way to cut protections for someone like me. he's promoted conversion therapy. basically it's this person who thinks that i'm sick. and i don't think he was a good choice. she goes, okay. so when are you leaving? i'm like, soon. then the next day i am at practice and all of our program music is like on our phone so i turned my phone on airplane mode for every practice i can use every time i've ever forgot
to turn the airplane mode i'd be in the middle of a program and you get so tired you don't want to ever do it again when you're in practice. i'd be in the middle of the program and all of a sudden it's like, my mom, she's like where are you? i'm like, i'm at the effingham rink like every day the same time same place, i'm sorry. airplane mode. i get off the ice of the practice i turned the airplane mode off and i have like 10 voicemails in like two hours. i see one of them is from the agent that i had at the time, a few of them from u.s. olympic committee and a few from u.s. figure skating. i was like, what did i do? [laughter] i'm like, i said something about myself and now i'm in trouble. i have no idea what it was. i started calling people back and basically what i had heard
was that the office of the vice president had reached out to the olympic committee and they wanted to set up a phone call. because they felt that i was not educated in what i was talking about. shady. [laughter] here's the thing, it's really interesting when a moment like that actually happens to you because it's so easy to think that like if donald trump or mike pence wrapped in that room we would be like get out go home and we probably would. but in theory, growing up, you hear like the president, vice president of the united states, you think that's powerful. i'm kind of nobody and now all
the sudden the vice president of the united states wants to talk to me maybe i can make a difference. and then i thought five minutes before my article came out he knew who i was and couldn't have cared at all. why is he not reaching out to me.i said it's because like this is just a follow-up. so that when this gets turned around it's just an opportunity for him to say that way, i talked to adam and it's fine. that's not what i want. and also, i'm really lucky because the legislation that mike pence tried to and did pass in indiana never affected my life. i had most of my adult gay life in california. i didn't have to go through a lot of the experiences that people in indiana needed to go through.
that conversation isn't even for me. it's for that black trans woman who can't walk down the street in indiana without thinking she could be part of the statistic where she could die before 35. it's for the young gay kid who gets kicked out of his house and his parents are affirmed in their decision that they are doing the right thing because telling these parents that they have to be tough they need to take and make these hard decisions. i said it's not for me it's for these people. it's also four weeks before the biggest competition of my life so this isn't for me and this is just a photo op. i was talking with the woman who's the head of the media relations at u.s. figure skating and her name is barb. she's a lesbian.
obviously, her name is barb. [laughter] any barbs out there? [laughter] okay. you are quiet now. barb calls me and it's like now it's the next day and i thought about i thought about what i wanted to do. i called barbara and she said if you thought about this i said yes. i said you can call them back and you can tell the vice president to go f himself. she's like, all right, good for you kiddo, i'm gonna think of a different way to say it but i got the message loud and clear. [laughter] [applause] that's for you barb.
then i thought it would just go away. it wasn't until christine, she so excited because she found out that i denied the phone call. because she didn't really think anything can happen with it and then when she found out this phone call was an offer to me and i denied it it turned into a big story because then the office of the vice president said no we didn't, yes we did, no we didn't we didn't reach out to him we reached out to somebody and i was like, i had not said a single word and they dug themselves into a deeper hole until it became a really big story. that is shocking for them. [laughter] they seem to have like a really cool smooth running machine over there. [laughter] which is weird.
>> wow. >> exactly. [laughter] >> i want to thank you so much for everything you've done and in general congratulations on everything. especially your book. i know we don't really have a whole lot of time left but i don't want to be the last want to ask you a question. we want to open it up to the audience for q&a. i think we have microphones. how about you in the front? >> upper great lakes regionals is in four days now, what are your advice for skaters going to regionals? >> my advice for any sort of competition you are getting ready for is to focus on all the hard work that you put in.
because the competing, if you think about it, and all the hard work is way harder than the competing part. all you need to do is go out and it's basically supposed to be like a celebration of all your hard work. you have worked really hard i'm sure and you are here so i feel like this is really good omen and lot of good energy. i feel bad for your competitors. they are not here and it's like too bad for them but i'm glad for you. [laughter] how old are you? >> and 13. >> they are all 13, okay. [laughter] they don't know anything. i think the thing i would focus on is all the work you put in. if you go after everything and put give a 100% and walk away you can be satisfied and proud of yourself and that's the most important thing.
>> do we have questions? >> i got started skating later in my career, i was only nine but when i skate at my club i see a lot of girls younger than me that are surpassing me obviously because i haven't been skating as long as them. i know with how you went to the olympics and you were older than all your other competitors, how do you still be confident in yourself even though you know there's people that are younger than you that you want to be able to hide type yourself up. when i went to the olympics i was 10 years older then the boy who was like the second ãb
here's the thing, i grew up with this young kid who was like really good i was always better and then all of a sudden it's like i'm way older and he's way better now and then i realized when you are older you do have more experience and you are smarter and wiser and you can't do more things. and that's your secret weapon that they don't have. everybody comes to a moment in their life where they need to learn these lessons. if you are a little bit older and you pushed yourself and he worked hard, you've gone through them and you've done that work that they haven't done. you are more mature, you are more ready for those circumstances. whether skating or whether dark whatever you do when you're not skating, that you focus on what you bring to the table. don't worry that someone else might be bringing something else or it might show a lot of promise but if you are confident and you really believe in what you bring and
that what you bring is important, that's the most important thing. >> thank you. [applause] >> and like rence brown. [laughter] >> hi, i wanted to say that is an outspoken queer woman is really exciting to see you being outspoken but also really excited to see you talk about your struggles with eating. i reread the new york times article recently and i had anorexia for 10 years and embedded in recovery for 13. i was wondering if you could speak to the response you got when you started going public about the discussion. >> share. i don't like to say that like i had an eating disorder. >> i wasn't saying you did. >> i'm not like, how dare you! [laughter] [inaudible] but i like to talk about like, the reason i don't like to say that i had an eating disorder is because i think for me it was really different.
was i eating well? no i was not. i was having like a piece of bread and a yogurt like, let's call it a day. i was doing that because i was trying to be as competitive as possible. when you are really competing against like these young kids and it you are pushing 30 and there's also maybe 30 extra pounds you are pushing too. it's different. as a man, when you get older you get bigger. you develop more and is easier for you to put on more muscle then a younger kid would. that weight is something that you really need to focus on and you need to be on top of as a figure skater because you need to be as light and as lean and as healthy as possible and it was the third part that i didn't learn about and tell it was almost too late. the only reason it caught up
with me was because i was feeling good and wet, and super healthy, am only eating three pieces of bread and i can't believe it's not butter on top. [laughter] it was like, how delicious. there are so many different layers to it where i'm also thinking this feeling of feeling starving is good. so when i feel full i feel not good but when i'm starving i'm like, i'm working hard. it's like layered on top of all the stuff. it wasn't until like i broke my foot it was a year before the olympics and i broke my foot going for a job. i think because i wasn't eating while i wasn't getting any of the vitamins or nutrients that i needed which is shocking because i thought, i can't believe it's not butter would would not have all that. shame on them. yoplait! what's happening!
then i started working with like a dietitian. and i realized how important it was and like i was the one who created all the arbitrary rules of how i'd be in the best shape and when i started to learn about it i realized that like i could be even stronger and just as lean and it wasn't to be on this crazy diet i made up myself. i wanted to share that experience because i know a lot of people struggle with it and then i realized i didn't need to try to do these things to be like as small as possible i needed to be like as good as i could be. that meant being as strong as possible and being healthy. because if i was healthy i could skate but if i wasn't healthy i could skate so it was important for me to share that. >> unfortunately we are out of time. .....
[applause] [inaudible conversat] we will be back more live in about 30 minutes. coming up next author in new york times contributor on a new book of essays called make it scream, make it burn. checked the program guide or visit our website on book tv.org >> the folks that you chronicle in the book predominantly by mister brennan to switch that and go
on offense. that to quote that we will stop him, meaning trump, they take extraordinary measures to try to dig up dirt overseas with russia to push it for the clinton campaign to make the idea of voting voting for donald trump how does that happen? mimic there were two parts to the plan. it was to exploit the dossier penned by christopher steele the fbi was unable to verify. they tried mightily but they could verify something that doesn't exist is just a pernicious live. part of the plan was to leak it to the media they assume
they would run crazy to damage him politically and while it's true that many members of media did pick up it didn't resonate but the insurance policy was plan b from the peter struck lisa page we have an insurance policy issue but donald trump one that investigation we kick that into overdrive and really go after him and make the investigation of him as potential or an alleged russian asset public and we did. so now before he was even
sworn into office clapper, brennan had a plan to ambush trump at trump tower to selectively give him information about the dossier and use that meeting as a pretext to leak that to the media and that is how the dossier was published. now once it was published the media was off to the races with the russia hoax. >> the other troubling part anybody that works for president they have to explain sensitive information but it seems in this case they were using that leverage as blackmail. we have a lot of information on you. and you don't know it. it was very who harassed.
with the fpa and the one - - the fbi and the consequences. so all of those dossiers that we read about and watched all of the in-depth reporting on it all of the hillary clinton campaign that we come to know is there any truth that donald trump did had any type? are there any truth is in the dossier? >> no. all of the collusion allegations of the dossier turned out to be untrue and you can do that in volume one in the mueller report. the fbi created a spreadsheet
of all of the collusion allegations and it all turned out empty. there's nothing on the spreadsheet they cannot corroborate or prove anything. as christopher steele said, the information he wrote is unverifiable. generally that's not allowed in a court of law. and i remember this is triple and quadruple hearsay. so with that testimony to be passed along within the fbi with these characters of the obama administration. >> so now he got fired from the fbi for lying.
he was on the payroll not just of the hillary clinton campaign of the dnc but of the fbi and had been since early 2016 the year of the election. but he lied to the fbi about talking to the media to feed this information to the media. when the fbi found out about it they had to fire him but they still used him. he goes to the fisa court to get a warrant to spy on the trump campaign and vouches for steele knowing he was a liar to prove that comey felt differently so the state department that at one point
before the pfizer application was christopher steele. she sizes them up and about the course of an hour and realized he was phony and she checked out at least one major part of the dossier it was a consulate in florida that did not even exist. so she notified the fbi and department of justice. this guy is a fraud. be careful here. they ignored the warning and went ahead to the judges of the fisa court to lie to them and deceive them and conceal evidence and that the justice department to say warned them because be careful this information it is totally
unverified. the fbi james comey and andrew mccabe did not care. the fisa warrant application has at the top verified information. if they relied on the dossier which was unverified. the last time i checked lying to a judge was against the law and now there's five additional felonies i expect with the deception of the fisa court. >> i worked for president george w. bush. i was involved with some of the meetings about bob mueller and the fbi director. i went to bob mueller so i remember the meetings so one
thing i heard over and over again during the fbi director is that he proved essentially the perfect candidate to be the fbi director. was it true then? if it was or wasn't how did the fbi get on this most dangerous of the rogue path? did it start before mueller? is it really comey obama problem? what happened? >> it started before muelle mueller, but then it escalated after. >> using any power they could because they are the good guys they have the white hats so they are truly the elites.
>> i see it begun before mueller because right after he was appointed fbi director at the time of 9/11, he gets hauled in front of the fisa court and they confront him with evidence the fbi had four years had been presenting lies to the fisa court in warrant applications to spy. and mueller promised he would fix it and institute new rules and procedures. he actually did. but the fbi continued to violate those woods procedures particularly in this particular case in the investigation of donald trump and the surveillance and spying on carter page.
so it continues under his leadership and escalates under comey. >>. >> that was the first time he was considered so i did some checking on comey but in politically was a chameleon. he loved president bush and to talk to liberals and they would say james comey is pretty liberal and everything. and then has a hodgepodge story so the best thing to know about james comey.
>> i saw that early on back in the 19 nineties with the news conference that he held about a case he had launched he said have you ever seen a guy who loves himself that much? i always remember that because i then saw it vividly in my research following the case. james comey could be described as this glorious sanctimonious self-righteous individual who only cares about james comey. that is our experience every major job he has he always turns on the person who picks him. he turned on president bush on
the renewal of the patriot act, act, 9/11 era legislation. the whole hillary clinton thing back and forth opening the investigation right before the election day making the clinton folks mad. what is he doing? and to this day now he has the social media presence of almost the aoc acolyte. he is a warrior in the communist revolution. >> it is rather nauseous when he treats tweets out of these philosophical phrases that he uses standing among the tall trees. [laughter]
it is actually pretty comical. >> not standing behind the curtains? [laughter] >> james comey lied to the president repeatedly saying you're not being investigated but the truth was in the documents and testimony show he was lying to the president. that is one of the reasons in addition to the handling of the hillary clinton kc fired him because comey was lying to him all the time. at one point comey delivers testimony before congress it is apparent to trump that he's the guy that's been like to have the last several months so this is the final straw so he fires him. then comey who told the president i don't do sneaky things steals government documents. is not his property it is government property, and leaks them to a friend to the preface to leak them to the media for the appointment of
the special counsel who was his longtime friend and mentor bob mueller. that's how devious james comey is. and when he gets caught in a lot of these things, he feigns memory loss. as he did in his testimony i think he said 149 times i don't remember. and in interviews when confronted he pretends he doesn't know about the dossier. i don't know what that is. christopher steele? i've heard that name before . but those kinds of answers make you question the credibility. >> so he really brings rack and ruin to the reputation of the fbi so this question of the policy using power to stop
trump to push this, so who hires andrew mccabe to be the deputy? [laughter] how does that cast of characters around james comey come together? is that an internal process where it is inevitable? because how do all these people with left-wing politics and animus toward the newly elected president get into the upper echelon? that cannot happen other than purpose. >> comey surrounded himself with sycophants and it didn't matter their qualifications so i talked to several former officials that andrew mccabe was not qualified to be deputy fbi director and then as acting fbi director. i have a spouse that's involved in politics a lot of people that even this question
being politically active in the commonwealth of virginia you would think the ig's the optics of that is not great. >> he should have recused himself and he eventually did but it was too late it was the very end. i open the chapter that is living proof of the peter principle when those in a hierarchy will level rise to the level of their own incompetence that is true of rosenstein and andrew mccabe. but the people that comey surrounded himself with were sycophants. they were on the same page. not that they were terribly qualified to do but they were people who believed in james
comey and were willing to do anything even to undermine the rule of law and subvert the democratic process. >> so you go forward in the process donald trump is struggling to get this whole idea behind him and to keep coming forward again and again so tell the story of the reemergence of bob miller who from my understanding, having conversations from people who would know, actually would say was in the hunt to be the director after james comey. >> i protocol them recently that pose the question, did mueller lie to congress when he denied he was interviewing to be fbi director again with
president trump in the oval office the very day before he become special counsel. documents show that rosenstein appointed mueller that he was secretly communicating he was already on board to be special counsel. so what was he doing in the oval office the day before he takes the job? he denied he was interviewing for fbi directorship. but i interviewed the president in the oval office he said absolutely that's why he was there i interviewed his personal assistant who set up the meeting and was privy to the conversation. it was an interview to be fbi director. multiple administrations witnesses and documents demonstrate mueller was either terribly mistaken or not telling the truth when he denied all of that. so that invites the question what was he doing there?
if he is already decided to take the job a special counsel why is he in the oval office? was at a conversation under false pretenses so mueller could gather information from trump in the oval office to be used against him in the special counsel investigation? and the key question is did the president explain to mueller the reason for firing comey? if the answer is yes then mueller could not have served as special counsel because that makes him prosecutor and witness in the same case which is strictly prohibited so i interviewed the president just a couple of months ago for the book and said did you tell mueller your reasons for firing james comey? the president paused and thought about it and he smiled
and he said no comment. i can tell you the answer because i know the answer and i vividly remember the conversation. and as i write in the book, it was clear to me sitting across from the president with his demeanor that his answer was yes. it is inconceivable they would not have talked about the firing of james comey just days before because trump was talking to everybody about it. so mueller never should've been special counsel for cody was wet and it will - - a witness. he didn't say by the way i have agreed to be a special counsel to investigate you that to me is unconscionable. >> so the mueller, mueller, comey, rosenstein, if
we look through the parade of characters in the meantime the fbi takes a black eye. most people say it's an important instrument of our government and agency in our government. are they on the path to recovery? >> no. no. because comey's twin brother is the fbi director. >> you say that metaphorically. so to me judging the actions of christopher ray shows that he doesn't care about transparency and then spoiling the truth to the american people he cares about covering up to protect the fbi and i know that because he has defied lawful subpoenas issued
by congress he thought the declassification of critical documents to expose the truth behind the witchhunt. it is a shame christopher ray cannot be most honest and forthcoming to the american people. they need to know the truth and they deserve the truth accountability and democracy is fundamental. >> jim clapper and john brennan are two names that appear throughout the book for go we all had to read and watch their roles in all of this. can they be prosecuted? is that a livewire? >> it is possible. and that's why it's very significant and important that william barr several months ago launched an official department of justice investigation to appoint us
attorney from connecticut to headed up. durham is well-versed in corruption of the fbi and cia he has prosecuted and put behind bars people who were engaged in lawless acts in those agencies. as i write in the book writing ally is easy spreading it is easier but covering the truth is hard. and it will take time to unravel all of the lawlessness and corrupt acts involved in the witchhunt. but i have confidence in them the inspector general's report will be very important they are moving full steam and will - - ahead we recently learned durham expanded his investigation adding additional personnel that likely he has already found evidence of potential crimes.
>> what is amazing when you rate - - when you read the book it seems like during the obama years nothing leaked from this leaked from the deep state they have dirt on us and enemies overseas with real information nothing on hillary clinton e-mails or peter struck the yet with president trump there is this leak including conversations with foreign leaders on a regular basis. why is that allowed? mimic the eight years of the brock obama administration the intelligence community and fbi were all empowered. this small group of unelected powerful officials i call it a malignant force.
they saw donald trump coming. he was a threat to the perpetuation of their power. hillary clinton would have been a third term of brock obama. their power would continue but donald trump vowed to drain the swamp. they are the swamp. they are the malignant force. they didn't want to be drained. power in washington is like crack cocaine for go once you get on it and have it you don't want to give it up and you will do anything to stop someone who will take your power away from you. so that's how the rush of folks began. that's how the witchhunt is because these people saw donald trump as a threat to themselves and what they loved, their power. and the end justified even if
it was lawlessness. >> this airs tonight at 11:00 o'clock eastern in tomorrow at 9:00 o'clock eastern in its entirety. >> lie from wisconsin book festival author and new york times magazine contributor leslie jamison discussing her essays on culture in her book make it scream, make it bur burn, make it burn, make it bur burn.
>> i'm very happy to be here especially because we have such a unique literary talent with us so we will have fun. i first discovered leslie jamison a few years ago she wrote a remarkable essay collection called the embassy exams followed up with mmr called the recovery of addiction and a literary life now her brand-new essay collection "make it scream, make it burn they are so tart and nuanced and it is fascinating to hear and read about the ethical complications to be a writer there is creating beauty and exploiting the people that you write about and that is a recurring theme in these essays. so it's great to have you here. >> it's wonderful to be here.
>> what is so striking is these are very different kinds of essays. summer journalism, criticis journalism, criticism, and very personal revealing essays. are you comfortable with all different kinds or do you have a favorite quick. >> the best way to answer is that i am differently uncomfortable with all three forms. if i'm feeling too comfortable that i'm working on so i believe in discomfort but those sources are different with those three modes. the personal essay i have been doing that in some form for the longest so when you have to dig deep into your own experience or those well polished stories to find the messy stuff underneath most of those are telling of the
things we don't really understand and that produces shame or plowing into that is difficult and then we will talk about every life is shared custody so you also write about other people. journalistic pieces are those that involve more between 2010 and 2011 i was so excited about that mode with those pieces of the marathon in tennessee, tennessee, people who suffer from a controversial skin disease, it is fascinating to me to immerse myself to write about what i saw but also i was a
shy kid and then how to coax out of people. and then to produce an anxiety. >> let's talk about some of those essays. a whale known as 52 blue. they were all obsessed and so with those ones one is a blue well one - - whale who was tracked initially by these old hydrophones along the surface of the ocean floor and then
were repurposed to study ocean life and at one point engineer started to pick out sounds that were consistent with the call of a blue whale but they were at a much higher frequency which was at 52-hertz which just is a higher pitch than most blue whales. >> but only this one whale has this particular. >> that was one thing that was strange. the other was that whenever they tracked him, he was never in the company of other whales which is unusual for a blue whale. so when they publish their results mythology started to brew about this whale because he had a higher pitched song and is always alone people were fascinated by him. >> called the loneliest whale in the world. >> and as you can see people
were projecting all sorts of stuff onto him.loneliness,indepk , fierce autonomy like in the great white whales so that was the beginning. >> so spending time they just became obsessed. it sounds like you spend a lot of time. >> so to be particularly interested in her connections because the whale had reached her so she was recovering from this major issue that kept her in the hospital for many months a five-week medically
induced coma come is not like she woke up and for the wheel - - the way of the next day but still in the midst of this she was still very much to in the midst of reclaiming speech and movement and what he became to her of what it meant to not quite know how to be in the world and figure it out. so i ended up spending time with her to culminate in this with the show she was involved with in harlem. >> she was drawing or painting pictures. >> so she was displaying one thing she was working on for a long time was a portrait of her and the whale as she imagined them in her mind.
so her whole story was moving. there's also things that may be a little new age or astral waves of energy and i felt torn to represent her voice as it was and as i heard it but not make her seem like a caricature of somebody to be easily dismissed and that deep context to understand so that was to not just for her surgery and recovery but a whole lifetime so talking
about her one more time. >> did you become friends quick. >> that's a complicated term and then to exist primarily as a writer subject relationship and sometimes we look too hard into the appearance of friendship could be more problematic which is most important to me which is transparency that i'm writing for this piece but we know the terms of what is happening here. and with that said, i care about her very much i wanted
to write a version of this piece that she would feel good about but i always can't please the gods of your editor and your sense of artistic integrity and happiness of your subject that wasn't writing a profile of a high profile public figure like they had a right to know. she was an ordinary real low-profile person. so it was important to write a piece that was respectful of he her. there were things that she shared with me that because she felt the intimacy between us that she didn't end up feel comfortable putting in the piece so i didn't really respect that part of the relationship. >> clearly you are drawn to write about the outsider so
let's talk about another which is people who have claimed to be reincarnated jim tucker who has studied these four years and a lot of them are really compelling and are hard to explain away. spent a lot of time with one particular family. >> yes. this family is from louisiana their son james was three years old to have very vivid dreams that he was in an airplane on fire and crashing and would wake up with these nightmares in a state of panic saying playing on fire and can't get out. his parents tried to make sense of this how they can make them go away and where they were coming from over the years they began to unfold
into increasingly elaborate stories about what james remembered he said i was a pilot whose names was also james. he was using proper nouns that were confusing them he was never exposed to them he said my plane took off from no toma then no toma bay was a us naval aircraft carrier outside of japan. >> so how could he possibly know this stuff quick. >> he would say names of other people who are on the boat that lines up with the rosters. so his father especially was a real skeptic at first but after enough of these proper nouns and details lineup he started to turn and after watching his son live with
this very visual experience that came from nowhere they could see that this was a prior life. so they were one of the families that this psychologist was one of the most persuasive cases so i wanted to spend time with them for that reason i became very interested. >> review persuaded my whole thing with reincarnation in the universe i try to remain very humble about the limits of my knowledge. was i persuaded about this specific account of how reincarnation works? know. that is less because i was holding up my curriculum that doesn't make sense. but interviewing those that said it didn't make sense but
that said, i fully believe there are things that happen in the universe that i cannot fully understand. so i would not discount it. i also think for me the most important questions or compelling questions weren't necessarily is reincarnation real or not but why were they so invested why did they spend years of meaning and the father committed himself more than a decade to research this aircraft carrier but they understood to be the fact of their sons prior life so that sense of how did that story get into their psyche was compelling to me and that had a reality independent if i
felt the reincarnation was real. >> i would imagine writing a story like that is tricky because it's really easy to make fun of people or treat them as gullible but you read a passage you talk about that and refer to john who dealt with these things in a different way. >> yes a writer who had such a profound influence on me sometimes the most powerful is the argument but coming-of-age as a writer i always love joan didion's essay which famously begins we tell ourselves stories in order to live and less famously and pretty much
exactly the same place where she reiterates her suspicions about all the stories and the false coherent as if it's not a point she already made several times. eventually started to have my doubts about her doubts that she positioned herself in the skeptic of self delusions i started to believe there was an ethical failure the same snobbery outlays and polls to resist clichés and recovery meetings for people's overly neat narrative of their own lives. so in my own work myself increasingly addicted to write about lives or beliefs that others might have scoffed at. people who claim to suffer from a skin disease most doctors did not believe in or self identified outsiders who felt a spiritual kinship to a
whale. if i was honest with myself to carry this self-righteousnes self-righteousness, maybe i like telling myself i was defending the underdogs or maybe it was cowardice. maybe i was too scared to push back in order for others to keep surviving in their own lives. in that case it wasn't that i was convinced by the physics -based account of how reincarnation worked a theory grounded in a series of experiments drawn from history and physics that was called cherry picked is electively misinterpreted tucker was a psychiatrist after all not a physicist it was more that i felt emotionally spiritually and intellectually allergic to a certain disdainful tone that it understood what was
possible and what wasn't. it seemed arrogant to assume i understood much about consciousness of what it was, where it came from, or where what one - - went when we were done with it. >> so other essayist said she was a big influence on you may be in the sense you had to part from here on - - are some who were other authors quick. >> yes. to huge influences that also show up susan sontag and james agee 1936 book and largely an account of the lives and labor during the great depression but what made that
revolutionary that as they are at documenting his lives they are constantly preoccupied by the convoluted dynamics by the power dynamics to be harvard educated and what does that mean to be in the same room? as their backgrounds and select every moment and very fundamental level railing against the fact the matter how much he writes about them it will never be enough. there will always be more of them. >> he is also worried about exploiting them and romanticizing them.
he wants his cake and eat it too or his poetry and eat it too. and then to romanticize poverty so that was a lyric poem. so doesn't know quite where to land to toppling between these and that's what i appreciate about sontag as well and to be strident so to have those earlier positions with intellect as well so as a writer or reporter journalist
is there is a famous line i have to claim that the journalist to prey on people's vanity or loneliness with that trust without remorse. >> so she does come to the image of the lonely widow waking up one day to find out the young man had left with all of her money. the one who understands you or loves you like nobody else does that you wake up one day and find out that your money is gon gone. >> but then you can never distill the psyche.
that complexity to be multiple things on the page so those on the characters so this about poverty a relationship or loneliness so then i turned them and so to surprise me so let james be a lot of things at once. he was pretty aggressive, he was a gun nut and determined to convince me he was probably smarter than i was. all that stuff is on the page but he was also a dad who really loved his son and clearly was unsettled by things it was important to let
that side of him live alongside the aggressive gun not because he was both of those things. >> so to go back year after year and then to take photos of this one woman and her family. and you can just imagine the complications of that relationship. tell me about her. >> so yes now this project is almost 30 years and has been taking photos of this extended family that is centered on this woman maria and her children. but members now live on both sides of the us-mexico border so she's doing photography on both sides and maria's
youngest daughter, lita some of the earliest photos from 1984 show her as a little baby some of the most recent show her with her son. you can really see the scope and span what happens to a life over 30 years. >> she just keeps going back? does she move in with them? [laughter] >> is like a conversation in my household that we tried to move three times. [laughter] yes. i don't think she ever lived with them for months and months but from the time she was at their house when i interviewed guillermo who was one member of the family because i was curious what it was like from their perspective to have this woman
that keeps coming down to document your life. and because i am very interested that writer subject relationship i was talking about the dark side. sometimes it's too much. but he has a lot of affection for annie. you can say a lot of things with my context of conversation with him. he barely knew me with a full range of his feelings may not be present but i could hear a lot of affection in his voice and he said sometimes i feel and he knows my life better than i do if i cannot remember i will ask her because chances are she does. when she comes to stay when we are eating she is photographing when we are sleeping she is photographing. taking the kids to school when i'm at work.
there is so much that fascinates me about that that really connected with the struggle of the inevitable she can photograph them for 30 years but she hurls 25000 frames against that that inevitability of incompleteness when he get as much of this as possible and maybe never being done to say i will go back one more time you never have to fully reckon that you are done and it still incomplete. >> you have a great phrase intimate entanglement. why does she keep going back? >> i think it is a sense of affection she describes her relationship with them as one of love and she's not afraid to use that word. she is a real outsider artist
should have institutional funding. she's not affiliated with an institution. there are spaces to use the word love but she's is that freely. she loves them and is loved by them. >> then are there ethical complications? she's not rich but she has more money than they do so when she comes down to mexico one more time to see these problem problems, clearly there is a fair amount of poverty, does she just observe? does she help them out? >> she has. she has give them more like material objects like clothes how you address poverty but
that's a big part of the practice she brings them photographs of themselves so she has them. so that sense that this is not art made about you that is not also intended for you as an audience. but yes. she talks about her visits and wrestles with she keeps tallies of all the things she did give them and how much money she spent i think partially for her own purposes because she doesn't have that much but will also say they needed more. i cannot give them everything they needed. >> not only does she have that complicated relationship but you do with annie. and you write about this. >> yes.
so this is only the tip of the iceberg in these complexities. >> when i finally wrote about annie's work in a brief essay to accompany a magazine portfoli portfolio, the peace upset her. i wondered about writing about her than to her felt like a boundary between us. she said the writing made her feel betrayed and exposed and she articulated that reaction as the abandonment as if i left her by removing too much of my own subjectivity. i explained earlier in the essay when the first times i try to write about her at all i sent her a draft with a lot of material of my own investment in for work and
it's interesting because sometimes that present seven i can feel egotistical but to her she preferred the versions i had more of me in it because we were in this together. . . . . they need to handle the intensity in the naked truth. i have spent much of my life as a writer chasing poet suggestion that we try to see people as they elect to be seen in their larger selves. but it's an impossible dream. making art about other people always means seeing them as you see them rather than mirroring they would elect to be seen.
and yet i felt defensive of annie. in the face of the way the others may dismiss her obsessiveness as pathology, i felt protective of her relentless drive toward connection in her compulsion to make herself vulnerable to communicate fully into say everything, to document everything and to capture every nuance, every complexity. at a certain point i started to suspect my ongoing obsession with annie's obsession stemmed from a complex of my own, my attempt to defend an outsider artist who was stubbornly uncool in her message who was gloriously unrestrained and sentimental room who did not apologize. sometimes the relationship between artist and subject can get messy and overwhelming. so did annie, and so did i.
>> we've been talking about your essays that are more reporting and critical essays we reassess an older work, there's also very personal essays and you put yourself out there. your failed relationships, your insecurities, your complicated relationship with your father in your previous book was about addiction and how do you think about this. is everything in your life fair game or certain parts that you just won't go there. >> lots of things to say, in response of the lost part, yes, there are plenty of things in my life that are not fair game and i think maggie nelson has a wonderful way of talking about this where she said a reader who reads any personal narrative, of course believes they have seen the full story because i haven't
seen any of what they haven't seen. so there is a biased toward thinking you've revealed everything but only because the readers is never aware of everything that has happened and revealed. there are many of things that have not been revealed and will not be revealed. and i also think it's often a couple keita process of dialogue between me and somebody who shows up in the work where i am always in contact with somebody i will ask them would you like to read this piece well and advanced of it being published -- >> that is interesting. when you're doing a more reporting piece you show that to them? >> no, no -- if i'm ready for a
magazine no i don't think my editor would let me get away with that and nor would i want to. but when it's an experience that i have lived with another person that's the time when i feel that that's my practice to my policy and i like to give them the opportunity to read this piece and develop my language quite specific around this and if you're up for reading it i would love to have a conversation about it but then i would edit that from. >> what if they do not like it. what if they say i don't want you to publish. >> i don't always honor that so that's why don't promise whatever you don't want me too do i will do. i say we have a conversation that i edit from. i should say happens less than i would've thought that people have a major reaction about it like this, don't do any of it. and more often people have complicated reactions where some things don't record with her memory of what happened in one of the major figures in my book, the recovering, dave who i was in a relationship with road to
full drafts of that which is a 450 page book and it is to give credit where credit is due for not only his intelligence but to waive through month enter material. >> did he read that after you had broken up? >> yes the whole process was happening -- >> while you are writing it you are breaking up. >> it was years at the end of our relationship so there was a bit of space but he made it a better book, he certainly did not have a categorical, i don't want you to do this and it was not even a process of straight jacketing way have to take this out and thus out or i want you to take this out. he said these are the places where i do not see myself and these are the places you're presenting a simple one-sided account of what happened into the back-and-forth the book
became a lot more complicated and layered and in that case, not always the case serving the god of ethics and aesthetics were quite aligned to make the book a book that was doing right by him and also more complicated and better book. it does not always work like that. the one situation where i have given people total veto power was when i wrote about people who i had met the recovery and in that case everybody when i can track them down and not only did a nonionizing them the felt necessary and also if somebody was not comfortable about appearing that was absolutely honoring. those relationships felt like they were happening and in that case there was more of a power granted. and in other cases, sometimes this is a skill i struggle with,
you cannot actually negate the possibility of other people having negative feelings about the things they have done and i think writing is one of those things. >> you also write about your father -- the book is dedicated to him. >> we did not know he would come up that well. how did you do with that? >> there is one essay in the book that is partially about my relationship with my dad and he has read the essay many times, many versions over the course past six or seven years and one thing to say it is a process that involves him and his input. >> he comes across as a distant father as you were growing up. >> there were ways in which he was distant but a lot of the turn is also really turning on what came to fill overly simple
of the narrative of a have a distant father who is traveling and longing for him and recognizing and this is the thing that came into the peaster a lot of revision and soul-searching and listening where it felt self-congratulatory and self-deluded and it came to a place where i came to recognize all this time i was longing for more, he had been longing for that as well. that was something that i could not see -- very few 15-year-old could see that. but it was something that i struggle to see when i was younger but it felt like an important layer to complicate the vision of this of the distant father and say in his way he was deeply invested in
trying to be close as well, he did not always know how to do that or do it perfectly. >> did the act of writing about him in writing the essay, did that change your relationship? >> a catalase a lot of conversations that were far more honest than any we had had before. again i don't want to say writing about people is always connected or always bring you closer together but i think that could be a narrative in which its divisive and becomes a betrayal like janet malcolm always betrays a subject in the sense that it is exploitive and you will ruin personal relationships if you turn them in for your work. and while recognizing the ways in which some people really don't categorically like being written about in other times your same thin think that are uncomfortable or hurtful, i don't want to sugarcoat any of that but i want to put out there there's other ways that it plays out in which people can become
part of the process, complicated the book to make it better in the book in turn in the writing can complicate the relationship and deepen the relationship in useful ways as well. and for me that has been part of the story. >> you also write about your husband and we want to go to questions from the audience. before we do that you have a lovely passage about marriage. could you be that. >> this is from an essay that kept surprising me, the essay called the real smoke, it is about las vegas, it started about an essay of las vegas and a love affair that began in las vegas and i was thinking about vegas as a city of longing in the city that was full of the architecture of longing and how we long from things from far
away and hard to live with". all of that was in play in the essay and then i happen to leak a mameeta man from las vegas ine third act to get to another place that i could not have imagined. these are the last few progress. >> for years i had been an expert at longing, an expert at loving from the state of not quite having an expert of daydreaming and thinking back into the plus furniture of cinematic imagining. but from the early years i learned that marriage or something else. it was composed of the pleasures of dwelling which were harder and thicker than the pleasures of conjuring.
marriage was not the bliss of possibility, it was the more complicated satisfaction of actually living and actually having, it was a view not from the top of the world but from the base of the stratosphere, this part makes sense. while we try to understand what hamburger was saying about his rental insurance, it was about realizing when his prepainted heart proclaim decades of devotion those years were not full of the absence of longing so much as a constant renewal, the acrobatics, shape shifting. marriage is not telling your best stories to a new lover, it is asking your husband about his day and not lazing over at his reply. marriage is not walking past the shark tank at one in the morning stomach full of butterflies at the prospect of kissing someone new, and unknown taste and an unknown body. it is walking past the short tank at nine in the morning scouring the potted plants for
the wooden nutcracker your 6-year-old daughter lost the night before. marriage is not fantasy, its years of cleaning out the fridge. for a long time i had admired the art of showing it. and my friends, my mother, my brother and the other folks in recovery meeting but it is one thing to admire how other people live and another thing to try to live that way yourself. not waiting for love as if love itself could do the work. but waking up to support each day knowing it cannot promise to be anything forever except something that is always changing. marriage is what happens when you take the ride despite full of women who told you don't. despite the fact that you may someday be one of them. marriage is what happens when the mirage shimmers away to reveal plain asphalt straight
ahead. it is everything you keep trying to space and it delivers you to what you could not have imagined. past the first flush of falling in love to all the other kinds of love that lie ahead. you may never reach lake mead but you always have the drive itself. that particular glow of evening sun baking the highway setting the cars on fire, light brighter than you can stand to look at and already holding the night. >> that is one of the most beautiful passages about married under marriage i've ever read. so we would love to hear from you, we have about 15 minutes left any questions? >> known one heidi introduce
yourself what is the first conversation. >> that's a great question should i repeat that. >> this question was about how i introduced myself to somebody i'm going to write about and what the first conversation is like. so when i am first reaching out to somebody it is usually over the phone or over e-mail when this teenage with the folks who were obsessed with the whale i was reaching out through facebook, instagram or twitter and i'll usually say -- all often introduce my writing practice as involving many things which it does but i feel like that comes across a little differently than i'm a magazine writer or rate for the new york times magazine or monopolist and i think sometimes that can give a sense of somebody who is thinking about things more complicated in human terms which is always true for magazine
writers and i'm aware sometimes that i present myself in that way to maybe be not-so-subtle or articulate the like. the first conversation is always different and i do think of every interview as a kind of having a known choreography where you're trying to learn the rhythm of another person and what makes them feel comfortable and uncomfortable and you make a sense of what topics they leaning towards and what topics to steer away from and often in the first conversation i'll be a little bit more of a passive interviewer so i will ask them big opening questions but i will let them steer the topic and present themselves and talk about the things that make them feel comfortable then pushing so
hard to things i told her less comfortable talking about. the last thing for example there is a piece we have not talked about about second life in the online platform where the elaborate digital lives to themselves. i was interviewing one man was quite interested because he had met and fallen in love with we met in a second life but they had met in real life and had a real child together. but then they continue to have the second life relationship where there was bizarre avatars would be sitting on a digital couch together watching footage of the actual baby, it was a really intricate and real-life life. he was less interested in talking about that aspect it of a second life and more interested in talking about his
life as a musician on the second life which i was also interested but that was not the heart of his story. so i did a lot of engaging with his life as a musician and i was very upfront from the beginning because i was interested in writing as some of the father in the second life. many of our conversations included a lot of talking about life as a musician especially in the beginning to get to know each other and get comfortable and for him to be unfitting where he was feeling like this part was being what it is. so the very last thing i used to be very worried were preoccupied by sounding intelligent when i
was first engaging with subjects and i wanted to ask questions that seem to smart. my questions were way too complicated in the beginning so i tried to open especially in the early conversations with very simple opening questions that often it's the simplest questions that can open up the whole landscape of what there is to talk about. >> one thing that is striking about the number of people you write with, you keep coming back over and over, do they ever say why. like okay that's enough, you have written enough i don't need to see you again. >> i think i'm not interviewing taylor swift or something like that, i think a lot of the people i write about i'm often drawn to writing about outsiders and i often write about people who feel ignored by the world in different ways so i think they are less likely than some other people to say, enough about me
or enough about talking about me i think they're quite hungry for those conversations. it's less the night springs energy and again, another conversation more that i experience and desire not to end. but i think with annie part of my fascination was i sometimes am aware and i'll be intimate his life for a few weeks or a few months or in certain cases longer than that. but there is nobody that i have written about except for people in my own life who i've known for 30 years and something about her practice made me feel like a parachute and they were quite standard for magazine pieces. when you look at it in the geologic timescale looks really brief. >> of the questions? >> this might be hard to answer generally but can you speak
generally about how you get your ideas. i have set fascinating subjects, to editor suggest things questioning. >> the question is where my ideas come from and it is all different places but it's probably useful to give a fluttering -- and many of them are things that i come across and if i myself fascinated i let myself follow the hunch and i find the driving question that feel rich to me, and is largely about a place about working relationships in croatia and museum full of objects donated by ordinary people but in some
way represent past romantic relationships that are no longer. everything that enacts the demand uses to destroy his excess furniture to a toaster a couple uses to make the toast a toilet paper dispenser, a handmade motive, a mix tape in the playlist to a mixed tape that little boy had given to a little girl who he met when they were both in the conflict. the objects are extraordinary and touching narrative. the second i heard about the museum i thought i won a write about that places seems extremely. and i found a magazine that was game to let me try but it was in the process of going that i started to realize what the real curiosity isn't it was not describing the museum it was also thinking about a different
social that tell us were supposed to move on or get past relationships and really i think there is this way that her past relationships live inside of us and continue and maybe that's okay, maybe the goal is not to purge them but maybe integrate them or at least except there still in residence. so i came up those questions to the museum and there's a personal narrative in the essay and i ended up crowdsourcing for that piece where i asked a lot of people what object would you donate to this museum and that catalog becomes part of the piece. there is a give-and-take of stumbling across something in the world and less it seems to happen to deeper questions, i cannot find that. other ideas come from editors so the piece came from an editor and the other piece did as well.
but i think in a feedback loop with what my editors are coming to me because they have read my work and they no that i am interested in writing about things that other people might dismiss in a non-dismissive way and what i symptoms call interrogative warm asking questions and remain open and interested in questions that are not the most protectable. so even when the ideas come from editors there also raising out of my past work. >> i have to ask, what would you give to the museum -- >> i think about that a little bit in the piece and i was actually considering you can donate objects in many coop got way. some came as a guest and brought in an object a man came to see
it and had a pack of no cards and they just left it there and now it's in the museum. so i was thinking about bringing a saddle of crystal pepsi and had a brief moment in the '90s and a brief renaissance a couple of years ago but i hadn't ask who is very thoughtfully, new i had loved crystal pepsi and felt like life on the earth was too short. so he got me an ancient bottle of crystal pepsi off ebay which was a sweet gesture into me in embodied everything i can appreciate about him and his close attention and sweetness and presence and it was encapsulated in a very sweet bottle of ancient crystal pepsi
i was probably never going to drink. but part of what i wrote an essay, i thought about bringing the object but i did not because they wanted to keep it. and why did they want to keep that. i was attached to holding that relationship still in me and i think objects can be useful powerful in preserving the parts of our past that we don't want to forget. >> we are almost out of time. >> i am very happy to have come tonight. and really glad you were willing to read parts of essays rather than be interviewed. i think your voice is in this room with us and is very great to hear. because i do not know your work, i completely and totally induced about your title which is so great.
i'm not even going to ask you where that came from but we can start right away reading about your presentation, your talk of costco who says something like literature, we should make literature bites and stings, his screams and burns and does not let them go into romantic dream, it really shakes people. i am wondering if that is any of your impulse that you want to tear apart simple narratives and make them bigger and also as a writer you want to make yourself scream and burn a bit that you come up against these subjects who open you up to. >> first of all, thank you so much, the question was about the title, make it scream and make it burn and put in relation from this quote, i'm so glad to know that some version of literature
should bite and sting. and the idea of literature is a source of unsettled and publication as opposed to people in a romantic dream and certainly, for me part of what i want literature to do is raise more questions and answers and be a force of unsettling or overturning narratives in the collocated narrative or disruptive narrative shows up all over the place in relation to subjects in my own birth story and a number of things. it is certainly like having something screaming and burning rather than staying complacent very much at the core of the project. >> author of make it scream, make it burn. thank you very much.
i just want to say if you want to get more of leslie she will be on a panel later this evening and she will be part of the panel, what my mother and i do not talk about. that is at nine clock tonight in the community room. thank you very much. [inaudible conversations] >> will be back with more live coverage at the wisconsin book festival in about a half an hour that will be megan felt on her reactions on twitter cost her to leave the westboro baptist church which is known for protestant soldier funerals and gay marriage. >> while we wait we want to show you part of a program that airs tomorrow evening. here is jim mattis on his military career and his thoughts on