I didn’t do research, I did search. I like unique material. I want to do what no one else has done.
My father was in love with Texas in a peculiar way. He would take me down to Deep Ellum in the summers. That’s when I first realized what an incredible life an individual itinerate blues man lives… that was kind of the beginning of it. Just my fascination with… I don’t know… the way they were, the freedom they had.
I began doing field work I found most everybody I’ve found by talking to stopping and talking to people, telling them I, I wanted to meet interesting people, who could they suggest?
And I’d watch for a particular word. If they said that he was outstanding that meant a lot. They didn’t use that for just everybody. Sometime in the 70’s, I fell victim to bipolar illness and it just totally crippled my work
I would feel somewhat manic, manic enough to start working on a book and I would do that. And I would work madly on it, intensely 12, 14 hours a day, day after day. And then collapse. I did find myself in depressions. You just don’t do an important work in periods like that. And then after a while I’d get back to that kind of ideal point of mania, where I really, really felt like working. But I never felt like going back to the work I’d done before. Never felt like I should go back and finish that. Some new ideas, some new subject now was setting me on fire.
A reasonable person pursues something, learns about it, stops, writes a book, and then goes on to something else. I never did that and it’s been a controlling and possibly a crippling thing in my life.
I am resented by some people for not having published not just Robert Johnson but a lot of other information—
And I share that resentment. I’m more pissed than they are that I have not managed to get more material out. I’m getting older and older all the time. Committing myself to a line of work is absurd.
And—I live in continual worry that I’ve got a humungous amount of unique information that other people may never get access to.