JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

What it’s like

“Wow! You write books! How exciting!”

I hear that all the time. And it is exciting—sometimes. Mostly, though, it’s exhausting. And grueling. And it results in a whole lot of self-loathing and feelings of utter failure. Writers torture themselves. They study every word, type them, erase them, type them, erase them. It’s a lonely life, void of any real human contact. As the great Leigh Montville once told me, “We live in a cave for two years. We come out for a month of light. Then back in the cave.”

Right now, I’m in the deepest, darkest cavern a man can imagine. The big red bag used to be the wife’s. She used it for the beach—toys and lotion and bathing suits and the like. I stole it. Now I lug it everywhere I go. It’s loaded with books and clips and notes, and weighs significantly more than my 7-year-old daughter. When I come to places like Borders with it, I sorta look like a well-dressed homeless dude, collecting shit in a torn bag.