August 8, 2006KR BlogReading

More on Nonfiction…

Toni Schlesinger is featured at The Believer. Interestingly, she doesn’t believe in tape recorders for her Shelter column:

“I do not use a tape recorder,” she explains in the book’s introduction. “I write down only what I want to remember–ultimately the test of what is interesting.” She attributes that choice to the experience of working on one of her first big stories as a Chicago journalist in the late 1970s, “The Call Girl Game.” A vice cop hooked her up with a pimp named Bobby who was too paranoid to let her write anything down, but the pages she transcribed afterwards from memory were wonderful material–in stark contrast to another conversation with a pimp called the Saint who was “totally open.” “We went out with his girls, and we went to lunch, and I was with them all day and I had the tape recorder and I taped them and everything,” she told me. The result was “like death.” Schlesinger likens the self-editing she does while listening to performing on a balance beam, a mental athleticism that lends great muscle tone to the writing.

Just like Capote would’ve wanted it.