“在一个大房间里从来没有写过什么好东西,”大卫·麦卡洛说,因此,他自己的办公室已经缩小到他玛莎葡萄园家后院的一个有窗户的棚子里。这间小屋被称为“书店”,没有电话或自来水。它的主要内容是皇家打字机,一盏绿色的银行家灯,还有一张桌子,这是麦卡洛通过“冲洗”每一章完成后松散的文件来控制的。从书店的内部可以看到一个下垂的谷仓,周围是牧场。To keep from being startled,麦卡洛要求他的家人在靠近他写作的小屋时吹口哨。

In its simplicity and modesty,这家书店是一位作家的特色,他喜欢把自己的成功归功于自己的作品,给他的家人,为了他的成长。麦卡洛的妻子罗莎莉在整个采访过程中都在场。我们坐在麦卡洛斯低顶的客厅里,随着录音机的转动,它变得越来越暗,所以到下午结束时,关掉灯,街对面只有十九世纪的图书馆是清晰可见的。During the entire time,almost eight hours,麦卡洛说得又快又有力,声音越来越嘶哑,但似乎从未感到疲倦。

就个人而言,66岁的麦卡洛与公共电视上的画面有些不同,他经常主持和讲述节目。声音,从房间的阴影中出来,was full of emotion.他的脸看起来更长,他的眼睛变大了。他经常做手势,sometimes calling attention to nearby objects,比如布鲁克林大桥的一根电缆。会议结束时,他发出了一个即兴的晚餐邀请,用蛤酱做了一个美味的意大利面,one of his specialties.

麦卡洛1933年出生于匹兹堡,成长于第二次世界大战钢铁生产的繁荣时期。He attended Yale,他在那里学习英语和视觉艺术,and got a job at体育画报毕业后在纽约。在20世纪60年代,他为American Heritage曾为美国信息局工作过一段时间。他的第一本书,The Johnstown Flood(1968),was not published until McCullough was thirty-five and already married with several children.

他赢得了普利策奖,two National Book Awards,弗朗西斯·帕克曼奖和其他许多荣誉,他的书中没有一本包括Truman(1992)The Great Bridge(1972),and海上之路(1977年)-已经绝版了。

采访者

Would you tell us about the motto tacked over your desk?

DAVID McCULLOUGH

It says,"Look at your fish." It's the test that Louis Agassiz,十九世纪的哈佛博物学家,给每个新学生。他会从罐子里拿出一条有气味的老鱼,set it in a tin pan in front of the student and say,看看你的鱼。然后阿加西就离开了。当他回来的时候,他会问学生他看到了什么。Not very much,they would most often say,and Agassiz would say it again: Look at your fish.这可能会持续几天。The student would be encouraged to draw the fish but could use no tools for the examination,只是手和眼睛。Samuel Scudderwho later became a famous entomologist and expert on grasshoppers,给我们留下了关于“鱼的磨难”的最好描述,几天后,他仍然看不到阿加西想让他看到的东西。但是,he said,I see how little I saw before.然后斯卡德尔头脑风暴,第二天早上他向阿加西宣布:成对的器官,the same on both sides.当然!当然!阿加西斯说,非常高兴。So Scudder naturally asked what he should do next,and Agassiz said,看看你的鱼。

我喜欢这个故事,在写作课上经常用到它,because seeing is so important in this work.顿悟,通常情况下,从观察桌子上的东西开始,在大家面前,而不是发现新的东西。Seeing is as much the job of an historian as it is of a poet or a painter,在我看来。这是狄更斯对所有作家的伟大告诫,“让我看看。”

采访者

Have you had Scudder moments?

McCULLOUGH

Oh,对。I suppose the most vivid one—when I actually felt something like a charge of electricity run up my spine—was while working on the puzzle of young Theodore Roosevelt's asthma.希望找出他袭击的原因,我和一位医生谈过,他提出了一些问题,比如家里有没有狗或猫,或者花粉季节是否发生了袭击。Then a specialist in psychosomatic aspects of the illness suggested a different approach.袭击是发生在重大事件之前还是之后?Or before the boy's birthday,或者旅行前一晚,还是圣诞节前后?Using his diary entries,我把他每天所做的事情做了一个日程表。In pencil I wrote where he was,who was with him,发生了什么事,and in red ink I put squares around the days of the asthma attacks.但是,有点像人渣和鱼,我看不到图案。一天早上第一件事,没有认真考虑,I looked at the calendar lying on my desk,and I saw what I'd been missing.The red boxes were all in a row—the attacks were all happening on Sunday.我想,星期天会发生什么?然后它开始有意义了。If he had an attack,他不必去教堂,which he hated,他父亲会带他去乡下。他热爱这个国家,and when it was just he and his father alone—that was pure heaven.这并不意味着袭击是有计划的。The closest analogy to an asthma attack might be a case of the hiccups—you don't decide to have them,and yet just as the hiccups can be ended by something traumatic some kinds of asthmatic attacks are triggered by anxiety.罗斯福为这些旅行付出了惨重的代价,因为像他这样的袭击是可怕的。There may well have been other things contributing to the attacks,但是周日的模式太明显了,不可能是巧合。

还有另一个场景骑马的早晨我觉得这对理解罗斯福的性格至关重要,which might not be considered important by conventional standards.The family was taking a trip up the Nile and young Theodore,who was an amateur taxidermist,shot and stuffed a number of birds.所以我出去搞了个动物标本剥制术。需要耐心和灵巧,而且它又臭又脏——这对孩子来说是很困难的工作。And if you do it on a boat with your whole family present,you upstage them all.书中有一两段是关于填饱一只鸟的过程,因为我认为这会显示出很多关于这个男孩的事情。I didn't want to say,He was a bright boy who did things other boys couldn't.I wanted the reader to know it.

Novelists talk about their characters starting to do things they didn't expect them to.Well,我想象每一位传记作家或历史作家,as well as 德赢沙巴体育fiction,has the experience of suddenly seeing a few pieces of the puzzle fit together.找到新作品的机会相当渺茫,尽管我从来没有写过一本没有找到的书某物new—but it's more likely you see something that's been around a long time that others haven't seen.有时它源自你的本性,your own interests.More often,只是没人费心仔细观察。

采访者

是什么促使你成为一名作家?

McCULLOUGH

Thornton Wilder was a fellow at my college at Yale.这是一位世界著名的作家,我们可以和他交谈,to have lunch with—imagine!—and he was easy to talk to,令人愉快的。Later,在纽约工作时,I read the interview with him in德赢官网.我不能告诉你这对我有什么不同。当被问到他为什么写书和戏剧时,he said,“我认为我写作是为了在书架上发现一本我喜欢阅读的新书,或者看到一部吸引我的新剧。”如果它不存在,他写它是为了读或看。

采访者

你在纽约做什么?

McCULLOUGH

毕业后,我在时代生活中找到了一份工作,作为实习生体育画报,一本新杂志。我在那里和时代生活杂志上工作了五年,以及许多不同的编辑。其中一个有一个大橡皮图章和一个红墨水垫。邮票上有一个四个字母的字,如果他不喜欢你写的东西,he'd stamp it and send it back.这个词是dull.When you'd had that done to you a couple of times,you began to get the point.

Earlier,作为毕业礼物,我被给予阿波马托克斯的宁静布鲁斯·卡顿。虽然当时我不知道,that book really changed the course of my life.我觉得这太不可思议了,你是怎么做到的?我读了更多关于内战的卡顿和其他书籍。玛格丽特·利奇的Reveille in Washington在记忆中脱颖而出。我找到了路,我想。

采访者

你什么时候决定的?用桑顿·怀尔德的话来说,to "write the book you wanted to read"?

McCULLOUGH

就在那时,我看到一组约翰斯顿洪水的老照片。当我们还是小孩子的时候,我们过去常在土豆泥里做肉汁湖;然后我们要一把叉子,把土豆打碎,and say,The Johnstown flood!—with no idea why in the world we did it.这就是我所知道的一切,直到我看到洪水的照片,偶然在国会图书馆。I became extremely curious to know what had happened and why.I went to the library and found a book,只是这样。作者对宾夕法尼亚州西部的地理有些误解,I could see,他没有回答我认为他应该回答的某些问题。I took out another book,灾难发生时写的锅,更令人不满意的是。So I decided to try to write the book I wanted to read.我一点也不知道该怎么办。One evening,in New York,在一个对西方感兴趣的作家和历史学家的聚会上,my boss,Alvin Josephy指着房间对面的一个白发男人。他说,那是哈里·德拉戈。哈利·辛克莱尔·德拉戈。他写了一百多本书。我等着机会走了过去。先生。德拉戈我说,阿尔文·约瑟夫说你写了一百多本书。对,he said,that's right.你是怎么做到的?我问。他说:一天四页。每一天?Every day.这是一个有抱负的作家能得到的最好的建议。

我写The Johnstown Flood晚上下班后。我会回家的,we'd have dinner,让孩子们睡觉,九点左右我会去楼上的一个小房间,close the door,开始工作。I tried to write not four but two pages every night.我们的大女儿记得睡觉时听到打字机的声音。

采访者

你对那本书做了什么研究?

McCULLOUGH

Well,我遇到的一个伟大的资源是宾夕法尼亚铁路公司在洪水过后从他们的雇员那里取得的证词。这是在期待诉讼的情况下完成的。They brought people in and sat them down and said,告诉我们你看到了什么,做了什么。Thus we've been left with many reports of the disaster from a cross section of the population,用他们自己的话。