In The Night of the Gun (Reviews, June 16), New York Times columnist and reporter David Carr investigates his history as a drug addict in the 1980s.
Why write an addiction and recovery memoir?
What came first was my daughter's college tuition bills. And then I checked the cupboard, and the only real asset I could find was my miserable, conflicted past. I'd always said I'd never write one of these books, but then I started thinking about how could I do it where there might be some dignity and learning that go with it. I decided to just go with the prosaic tools of reporting as a way of pulling me through the book. I have to say it was a miserable exercise. I did 30 to 40 interviews in person, and then another 20 to 30 taped phoners. Some of it was fine and dandy, and other parts of it were unbelievably embarrassing.
Just going up to someone you haven't seen in 20 years and saying, “Hi, I know I used to be a narcissistic, self-involved creep, but everything's different now and, by the way, do you mind talking with me about me for a while?”
You're putting some of the interviews and documentation on your Web site?
I'm interested in kicking the can down the road in terms of what a book is. It's a lot like what newspapers have done with larger projects: “if you want to see more....” You click on that, and you can see videos and I kind of talk you through some of the reveals in the book. I think people, by the time they get done with the Web site, will have enough of my mug, which, let's face, it is not exactly a television mug.
If you Google you, an early result is that you were a “fulminating crackhead.”
That's a bummer, isn't it? I climbed the Google ladder with a lot of hard work. Although I never really topped that quarterback [also named David Carr] from Houston, I'd hate it if it was my backstory as a crackhead that allowed me to trump him in the Google sweepstakes.
What's been the reaction at the Times?
I handed this book to my betters at the Times with a pair of tongs; I love my job and would like to keep it. I was really worried about it, and you know what? I wouldn't say leadership at the paper is going to be huge fans of the book, but they just really see no issue in it.
Have plans for another book?
If I did another book, I think it'd be an awfully long ways away from this one. I'm hoping that other people find my life interesting, but I don't anymore.