1. J.R. Moehringer on ghost-writing Andre Agassi’s memoir Open:

I found out that all the research in the world doesn’t get you very far — that when you start telling the story, there’s all this stuff you really don’t know. And I had the wonderful perk of being able to call him, sit down with him, every time I came to something and didn’t know what it looked like or smelled like. So it was like writing a novel about an imaginary character, but then being able to call that character and say, ‘What was this like? We forgot to talk about this. Tell me what this person said.’
So really, it was a lot of fun, and it also wasn’t very different from writing my own memoir. When you’re writing a memoir the trick, I think, is to treat yourself as a character — to distance yourself from yourself. You write about yourself in the first person, but you think about yourself in the third person. That’s the only way you can gain any perspective, any clarity, and keep the dogs of narcissism at bay. And then when you’re writing someone else’s memoir, you do just the opposite. You try and inhabit their skin, and even though you’re thinking third person, you’re writing first person, so the processes are mirror images of each other, but they seem very simpatico.

    J.R. Moehringer on ghost-writing Andre Agassi’s memoir Open:

    I found out that all the research in the world doesn’t get you very far — that when you start telling the story, there’s all this stuff you really don’t know. And I had the wonderful perk of being able to call him, sit down with him, every time I came to something and didn’t know what it looked like or smelled like. So it was like writing a novel about an imaginary character, but then being able to call that character and say, ‘What was this like? We forgot to talk about this. Tell me what this person said.’

    So really, it was a lot of fun, and it also wasn’t very different from writing my own memoir. When you’re writing a memoir the trick, I think, is to treat yourself as a character — to distance yourself from yourself. You write about yourself in the first person, but you think about yourself in the third person. That’s the only way you can gain any perspective, any clarity, and keep the dogs of narcissism at bay. And then when you’re writing someone else’s memoir, you do just the opposite. You try and inhabit their skin, and even though you’re thinking third person, you’re writing first person, so the processes are mirror images of each other, but they seem very simpatico.

  2. J.R. Moehringer

    Andre Agassi

    Open

    Fresh Air

  1. "You know, I never chose tennis. My father certainly pushed it on me in a  very disciplined way. It was what we did as kids in our house. You wake  up, you play tennis, you brush your teeth, in that order. And I was  always introduced as the future number one player in the world. And we  would go out on the tennis court every day and hit balls, and hit balls  endlessly and tirelessly. And I just  I resented how it changed the mood  of our house when I either won or lost or I either practiced well or  didn’t." — Andre Agassi (Image: Michael Cole) View in High-Res

    "You know, I never chose tennis. My father certainly pushed it on me in a very disciplined way. It was what we did as kids in our house. You wake up, you play tennis, you brush your teeth, in that order. And I was always introduced as the future number one player in the world. And we would go out on the tennis court every day and hit balls, and hit balls endlessly and tirelessly. And I just I resented how it changed the mood of our house when I either won or lost or I either practiced well or didn’t." — Andre Agassi (Image: Michael Cole)

  2. andre agassi

    fresh air

    terry gross

    npr

    tennis