Two years ago, an interview my friend Michelle Orange conducted with her dad was published on McSweeney's. The topic under discussion was a colossal jigsaw puzzle -- depicting the Sistine Chapel's entire ceiling -- that he had recently completed. It had taken two and a half years. The interview was reprinted in Brick magazine.
Now Michelle has produced a radio piece about her father and his puzzling. The piece is funny, poignant, and beautiful. You can listen to it here. The piece is also deeply personal, which made Michelle a smidge uncomfortable. The following is from an essay Michelle wrote about the making of the radio piece.
After three days in Woods Hole we had come up with a framework and had completed enough of the piece that I felt comfortable leaving the rest of the assembly in Jay's hands. A few weeks later I heard a cut, and like I said, it was jarring. I like it, but I'm jarred. On paper, it's much easier to conceive of yourself as a character in your own narrative, and when it's you talking, there's really no trap door to fall through. It may seem dichotomous but I consider myself a very private person, and I felt I was walking a fine line in exploiting my experiences, which I have never felt before. My dad trusted me in agreeing to be recorded ad nauseum and I took that as my cue in dealing with Jay. He was absolutely invaluable in keeping the spirit of this piece in focus, and I trust him implicitly - another bred-in-the-bone capacity of every writer. Not. So it didn't come easily, but it came, and here it is.