Writing my memoir about my father and me, Stories I Tell Myself
, was a long, hard journey. I thought I'd knock it out in a year, but I profoundly underestimated just how hard it is to write a book, and how hard it was for me to write about my father in a way that did him justice in an honest way. It ended up taking nine years from the time I signed the contract. And it turns out that was a good thing. It's a much better book than it would have been otherwise.
I first decided to write this book several months after my father's death in 2005. I felt very strongly that I had to set the record straight about who Hunter was. For many years the focus had always been on his drug use, his drinking, and his crazy behavior, which overshadowed his writing, his idealism, and his complexity as a man. I figured I had sufficient writing skills and talent to come up with a readable book, I had a unique perspective, and I had a story I very much wanted to tell.
I contacted Hunter's agent for many years, Lynn Nesbit, and she liked the idea. I wrote a proposal, she took it to a few editors she thought would find it interesting, and voila
! After a few months, a book contract appeared, and an advance along with it. I had my proposal, my contract; now I just had to write the book. I took advantage of the advance to leave my day job in IT and focus full-time on the book. I planned to finish it in a year and then find a new day job. I figured this would be like writing...