In this episode of Life Stories, the podcast series where I interview memoir writers about their lives and the art of writing memoir, I met up with Dave Bry, who, as his subtitle suggests, “grapples with a lifetime of regret, one incident at a time,” in Public Apology—which is, he explains, more than a collection of his columns of the same name at The Awl. Contractually, it had to be 60% all-new material, and that requirement helped him make the transition from a collection of anecdotes where Bry presents himself as the butt of a joke to a life story of substance and consequence.
(Bry cheerfully cops to the “gimmick”-y nature of some of the columns—the notion that the apology is simply the device that enables him to write about a given subject—but here’s the thing: It’s okay to use the tools that are at hand! You’ll also hear about how Bry’s editor, Choire Sicha, recognized the potential book lurking in the column long before Bry himself did…)
Listen to Life Stories #31: Dave Bry (MP3 file); or download the file by right-clicking (Mac users, option-click).