Q: What is it like to look back at 20 years of family letters?
A: These letters were often written during difficult times between me and my Dad, so on the one hand it's painful to relive some of that, but with that amount of distance, I've been able to also recognize the humor and absurdity in them, and even the wisdom. And I can also see how much he wanted to connect with me, and there's guilt there. And some of them are just funny. Rediscovering the letter he wrote to me and my brother about learning to drive was hilarious. His advice to assume that everyone else on the road is drunk, jerking off, and smoking dope all at the same time was a particular gem, and actually, it has served me well! I'm a very defensive driver!
Q: Tell us about your father.
A: I truly don't know anyone like my Dad. He is a true misanthrope. He shuns social convention, and he acts irrationally on purpose for his own amusement. He used to let me and my brother loose in shops or public places, let us misbehave, and then pretend to be our grandfather so he wouldn't be held responsible for our terrible behavior. He's also very smart, and witty, and he's very giving. He's nearly 80, but he drives a motorcycle around the country and camps in campgrounds, he's got bear spray and everything. It's always an adventure with him.
Q: What would he think of this play?
A: I think he would like it, he was thrilled with the idea of me immortalizing him, and I think it would be hard for him to see. We tried to protect him from the panic we felt when he was in jail. It was all positivity, you know? We felt like we had to keep his spirits up. I think it would also be hard for him to relive the difficulties we had in our relationship. We kind of have a "the past is the past" thing in our family, we don't talk about it a lot, at least directly. But I do know he's proud of me, and he's happy that I've written it.
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