A Note on Working Methods

Like Truman Capote, I do not record interviews or take notes. Unlike Truman Capote, I cannot claim to have an eidetic memory. I don't fail to take notes because I'm trying to be cool or because it's beneath me or because I have terrible handwriting. I fail to take notes because I'm categorically unable to pay attention to more than one thing at a time. If I started taking notes, then I'd have to stop listening, which would sort of render the whole exercise moot.

So here's my method of reviewing an art show: I walk in. I look at things. I speak to people. I take any freely offered postcards or booklets. Then I go home. At home, as I'm writing, I go over the Website of the show I just saw. I grab images, I go back and forth, I do Google searches on names and places and ideas. I use the postcards to remind me where I've been and who I've talked to.

Over the years I've practiced remembering conversations. I think I've gotten pretty good at it. I don't always get the exact words right, but I like to think I usually get the flavor right, the feeling of the words. I almost always show my reviews to the people in them, so I'd hope if I totally misunderstood or misrepresented someone they'd tell me. No one has so far. I've yet to have a star of any of my treasured anecdotes tell me I got the whole thing wrong. Except my parents. They're convinced I grew up with an entirely unrelated family.

My memory is far from perfect, though. I know it is. I often forget things I wanted to mention, or overlook details which later seem important. There's not much I can do about this.

The important point here is that my reviews are wildly subjective. My quotes aren't always flawlessly accurate and my descriptions aren't always correct. Things get lost here and there. If anything I describe or do sounds suspect or stupid, blame me, not anyone else in the story. It's probably just that I got it wrong.