I hung out with Davy Rothbart awhile back, and we talked about FOUND Magazine, the forthcoming film he's co-directing called "Medora" (which threatens to be one of the most extraordinary sports films: witness the trailer), the national tour with his brother (79 cities, 99 days), and Davy's new book of essays, My Heart is an Idiot.
Then I wrote about Davy and his book in a piece for Alumnus, the University of Michigan alumni magazine. Not available online unless you're a member of the alumni association, but you can get the article -- which includes photos of Davy doing bike tricks in the Diag -- as a PDF here,
A peek into the story:
Rothbart has particular hopes for “My Heart Is an Idiot,” which shares its name from a documentary he released in 2011 that focused on the hits and misses of his love life. Rothbart spoke with me about the book at his parents’ home in Ann Arbor, where he grew up. The compact orange brick home is shrouded by hedges and filled with books. A small meditation altar sits along a wall that’s crowded with photos; Rothbart’s mother is a spiritual teacher. It’s a home that’s dedicated to “making things, drawing things,” Peter Rothbart says. “Our parents made art a priority.”
When we met, it was a week before the tour took off for its first stop in Pennsylvania, and Rothbart had just emerged from an all-nighter finishing the cut-and-paste of the new issue of FOUND. He showed me the raw pages, each one a tiny collage. It looked painstaking to me, but Rothbart says the most time he’s ever spent on one project was for “My Heart Is an Idiot,” which took more than five years to complete.
Rothbart feels that he made something “honest and truthful”—almost to the point where he’s embarrassed to see his stories out in the world. “It has existed on my laptop so long, and some are really personal—the only people I’m sending them to is my editor and my mom. And now, I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, did I really write about that?’” There is, for example, a story about a phone sex relationship with a woman in Texas. Some names are changed to conceal identities, and the people Rothbart features have read the pieces about themselves. He suggests, though, that if anyone looks foolish in this book, it’s himself.
“FOUND’s been publishing people’s most personal and private moments for 10 years,” he says. “It’s only fair if I open myself up in the same way.”