Tad Friend, writer of the New Yorker's occasional "Letter from California" feature, once again explains his m.o. in an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle. Yes, he flies out from New York for every one of his pieces explaining California to the folks back East, and yes he still lives in Brooklyn with his wife Amanda Hesser, the New York Times food writer. He became the magazine's designated California correspondent, he says, after "I'd written a story for the New Yorker, prior to being hired, about a lawsuit between Brad Grey and Garry Shandling. Tina Brown was under the mistaken impression that I actually knew a lot about Hollywood." Excerpts after the jump; the questioner is Sam Whiting:
What's your creative process?
I become very unpleasant to live with.
How long does the unpleasantness last?
Five, 10 days. I write a very, very rough draft, then I spend a lot of time trying to make that into something that resembles prose.
Why don't you just turn in the rough draft, the way Tom Wolfe used to do?
I guess embarrassment.
How many stories will you bring home?
This trip is just spadework. I'll talk to 30 or 40 people, then sit down and start thinking, "Is there a story here?"
This job still exists in journalism?
I don't know. No one told me how to do this so I'm just making it up as I go along.
Link via Romenesko