Author Sarah Vowell recently visited Seattle's Town Hall to read from her latest book, Unfamiliar Fishes. Those unfamiliar with Vowell's work may know her from This American Life or as the voice of Violet from Pixar's The Incredibles or from her numerous appearances on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It was with great admiration I came to hear her read and to ask her some questions about work as a writer who delves into history, as well as personal stories. Vowell's writing has brought to life some of history's most unknown quirks in an approach that Seattlites—and Republican fathers—can laugh at and find informative.
Here Vowell answers my question about how she compiles her research. Which, as you know, I'm knee-deep in right now. Maybe somebody can comment on how they organize their mountains of research. Excel sheets, index cards, hanging folders? I'm really curious. Note, I recommend listening with speakers. Not suprisingly, she answers with her trademark wit and sarcasm e.g. "I use paper." I'll try and get a better transcript out later.