Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Diane Lunsford is talking with David Boglioli, author of New York City Bum.
FQ: How long did it take you to pen this book (and was it difficult to put your personal experiences into actual words)?
BOGLIOLI: It took me ten years to write New York City Bum. The book went through many drafts before publication.
FQ: In line with question 1, were there times you wanted to scratch the project altogether (and how did you get back on track)?
BOGLIOLI: No, though I went through long periods of not working on the book, due to various distractions.
FQ: There is a strong tone throughout your book toward justifying the choices you made to become a drug addict. Yet, there is also a tone of ‘the heck with the ones who used to care… it’s my life!’ At the headwaters of diving into the deep end of drug addition, did you ever have lucid moments of remorse and regret? How did you overcome them if you did?
BOGLIOLI: I don’t think that in my ten years on the street I ever regretted being there. I was where I wanted to be and doing what I wanted to do. I had no desire to go back to the life I left behind. I had a job for a year or two in a fancy restaurant, once I got sober, but then I went back to drinking and drugs. I spent all I made on alcohol and drugs. I found I didn’t want to be part of the establishment any more. I gave the better part of my life to being a member of the establishment, but I didn’t find what I wanted or needed from that way of life. When I started smoking crack, other opportunities opened up to me, headstrong guy that I am. Once I was on the street, once I was used to it, and had learned how to function in that world, it was more attractive to me.
FQ: Your writing certainly depicts a person who is educated and well-spoken, yet there is a nuance that you thumb your nose at such an existence. Has it always been important for you to make a statement to stand out in a crowd?
BOGLIOLI: Yes, I think so.
FQ: Why crack and why not sell it all and move to the mountains to live off the grid as an alternative?
BOGLIOLI: The first puff of crack made up my mind. That was all I wanted to do. That’s why there was the big epidemic.
FQ: Do you miss creating with food? It sounds as though you were quite talented in your craft. What turned you off so deeply you resorted to life on the street and drugs?
BOGLIOLI: I love cooking and I still cook at home. I still do garde manger work for the holidays. However, once I experienced crack cooking fell by the wayside.
FQ: Do you have animosity toward authority? Have you ever thought to explore this facet of your personality or are you more akin to: ‘people just don’t understand me and I don’t care what they think’?
BOGLIOLI: I don’t feel that people don’t understand me. I’ve just always had a distaste for authority.
FQ: I was extremely challenged when it came time to evaluate this read. There were often times I found myself wanting to shout out: “Why are you throwing your life away?” Yet, I kept turning the page to see what was going to occur next. Who was/is the audience you were writing for and was my reaction the vision you intended for your audience?
BOGLIOLI: My vision was to move people emotionally as well as to reveal the world of street life. I write for people who are a little out of the box: actors, actresses, fellow alcoholics, homosexuals, as well as people who would like a look at a life that’s not open to them. People who don’t want to live that life but are curious and want to understand more about that life. I have yet to find a book that describes the street, homelessness, and crack as vividly mine does.
FQ: I want to thank you for your time and must say upon finishing the read, you’ve left me with much to think about. This is a story that will linger with me for a while beyond its proverbial ‘the end.’ What’s next? Are you able to give us a teaser?
BOGLIOLI: There’s a 20-page preview of my upcoming book, Detour, at the back of New York City Bum. I continue to work on my blog, which is an extension of NYCBum: https://davidboglioli.wordpress.com/
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