Yeah. Yeah [with more emphasis], Yes! I agree completely. I’ve been very despondent with the failings by good people in our government. I really shouldn’t feel so hopeless about it now — I just don’t think these people really have our interests at heart. I really have trouble believing or having faith in any of them. On the other hand, I have the feeling that a lot of them would like to do something.
Was it difficult to be so dispassionate in the reporting of the stories?
Yes. I really wanted to stick to the facts, but at times there was just too much to say, just too much to make fun of, just too much to mourn. How did you remain objective? I think the answer to that is: "revision." I went over the text, and over the text. Jacob Hoye, my editor, caught a few things, too. Which story affected you most?
Was any story particularly difficult to write about?
"Momma's Little Angel" really upset me. I have young children. I'd thought I'd eventually get calloused to the stories, that from some point forward I'd proceed unscathed. I'd decided to write 28, and 'Momma's Little Angel' was the 14th story I worked on. The work had been getting harder, but I was still hoping that would pass. With "Momma's Little Angel," the work got really hard, and I realized it would only get harder. It was an emotionally dispiriting book to write. But it did make me more appreciative of my life, and generally a more happy person.
Did any of the stories make you especially angry? Which ones and why?
The death of a child at the hands of Homeland Security is pretty upsetting. Then again, those guys die all the time in the line of duty. Sometimes it's difficult to understand how governments are helping us.
If you could hand Tales of Woe to any one person, who would that be?
Can I hand it to Sarah Palin? I'd like her to be really drunk first, though. I'm picturing a honeymoon suite.
Why? — and what’s your interest in Sarah Palin?
She’s the Armageddon! I just think she’s the best. I’d vote for her — I’m serious! No one likes me for saying this stuff, but on the one hand she’s entertaining. The thing I like most about her is that I think the power structure of the Republican party hates her. And I like that the Democrats hate her so much, too. She’s just so entertaining. Actually, Sarah Palin was the real honeypot of Tales of Woe even before she ran for vice president. I finally had to put a cap on them because I was finding so many Alaskan stories. She (Sarah Palin) was all over the news in terms of all these terrible awful things that were happening in Alaska — and she was always right there. People hate me in New York, but I’d vote for her in a second.