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First Person

Letting it all out

Scituate native Nick Flynn, 49, reads from his new book, The Ticking Is the Bomb, a meditation on the Abu Ghraib scandal and personal demons, at Berklee’s Cafe 939 Wednesday.

(Photograph by Geordie Wood)
By James Sullivan
January 17, 2010

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Was it tougher to write the second memoir? It wasn’t for me. The book is broadly defined as a memoir. Another Bull**** Night in Suck City was located in a certain time and place, and there’s a narrative arc. The new one is sort of a ball of energy. A lot of it takes place in my mind.

It’s partly about your terror of becoming a father. I was desperate to finish the book before the baby came. It was interesting that the question would come up a lot with the pro-torture people -- “What if your daughter was kidnapped? Wouldn’t you do whatever it took to get her back?” I really don’t want laws being made based on my darkest impulses.

Why does everyone with talent in Boston leave for Brooklyn? (Laughs.) I gave Boston, like, 10 years. I still have some dear friends there. My father is there, still kicking. And I still go to the Cape every summer.

Your first memoir was about your father’s homelessness. What’s your relationship with him like now? He just turned 80, and it’s a very hard 80. I got him into a long-term care facility. Now it’s the first time I’m seeing him outside of liquor. He was on some anti-anxiety pills, and now he’s not on anything, which is kind of wild -- he’s just him. It’s actually a great gift, because I’ve heard his dozen stories a thousand times. Now there are different stories.

What’s the status of the Bull**** Night film? They were shooting B-roll last summer in Boston. Then one of the principal actors realized he had another commitment. Now, supposedly, they’ll start preproduction next summer.

Robert DeNiro is cast as your father and Casey Affleck as you. Have you met them? I went to a table read at DeNiro’s office in TriBeCa. It was a surreal experience. I hope to write about it at some point.

Are they going to use the title? When it was connected to bigger studios, there was not a chance. They didn’t even bother getting the domain name on it.

Best Globe photos of 2009

Best Globe photos of 2009

There is beauty all around, as these memorable images by Boston Globe staff photographers can attest. Here, they share the stories behind their photos.
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