What’s your name and where are you from?
I’m Jeff Chang. I’m originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, and now I live in the San Francisco Bay area. So my two homes.
What’s the project you’ve been working on this week?
I’ve been working on a biography of Bruce Lee. I’ve been at the beginning for a long time. I got this book contract a long time ago but had to finish two other books before I could get to this project. So this is the first real moment where I’ve been able to dive in. I’m here with like two boxes of books… a lot of time actually to get back in my body and do some practice around martial arts. It’s been great to be processing so much on multiple levels at once.
Where have you been spending most of your time on the farm?
I have been all over actually. So that’s my tree now (points to tree.) Yea, that’s mine now. I’ve been practicing in the mornings under that tree. I was also reading in the house yesterday. I don’t know if I’m going to do any writing this time. I think I might not. I’ve been scribbling. I actually came out here yesterday and looked up and saw a tick on the ceiling. I thought, “I’m not going to mess with that.” So I went to the gazebo.
What’s next with your project? Are you going to start writing your book immediately or ?
My process is to collect a bunch of research before I actually go out and do interviews. Partly because interviews are kind of a performance. You’re asking somebody who you don’t know questions, and they’re going to give you canned answers, but if you’re good, you’re going to be able to ask questions that will draw them out. You might find the tap. And they’ll unload to you exactly what they wanted to talk about. Part of it then is that the interviewee becomes someone you form a relationship with. All those impressions of the interviewer transfer to that relationship. And I’m acutely aware that all those different relationships transfer to, like you said, a web between these people. If you can know a fair amount, when you’re in the interview, it can be natural. You don’t want to go in with stock questions.
If you were reincarnated as a farm animal, which would you be?
Well it’s interesting because I’m born in the year of the sheep. I was checking out the sheep yesterday. Sheep are supposed to be very Yin. Very artistic, passive, gentle, opposite of the dragon. Some of it I am. Some of it I’m not. We were all “baa-ing” over there. Maggie told us if we “baa-ed,” they’d baa back. So we “baa-ed” at them and they looked us over and went back to ignoring us.