A firsthand account of this oral history, as told by the person who was there.
“You have to remember, at that time, right now, no one was doing anything like that. It was unheard of.”
KEVIN SECCIA (writer): I remember what I was doing when I first thought of the idea to write an oral history of this oral history. I was procrastinating. That’s the truth. I was avoiding actual writing work, and I thought to myself (In the beginning, it was just me. This was before all those other people didn’t come aboard.) wow, why not? Why not write an oral history of this oral history, the one you’re reading right now? I couldn’t think of a reason.
K. SECCIA (writer): You have to remember, at that time, right now, no one was doing anything like that. It was unheard of. People wrote oral histories about great TV shows and classic films and sometimes they’d do one on the making of a legendary album. Like, music. Also, I’m pretty sure there are sports ones.
KS: Yeah, there are definitely sports ones. But this one isn’t about any of those things, it’s about this thing you’re already reading.
KEVIN SECCIA: Here’s the ironic thing — and no one ever talks about this — this oral history is taking time and effort that could’ve been used in pursuit of a legitimate accomplishment. Something that might’ve eventually garnered enough interest to justify the making of an actual oral history.
K. SECCIA: Before this piece, if you’d wanted an oral history you needed to have a great idea, execute it perfectly, then attract an audience, and eventually, critical acclaim. And then years later someone would round everyone up for an oral history. But I didn’t see it that way, I was like, shit, why don’t we just do it now? About this thing you’re already reading.
KS: Here’s what no one ever realized until now. Those things are always written by like ten people, all weighing in on different aspects of the thing they did. I was like, I’m just one person! I can’t do all that. But then I figured out a way. And that’s when everything clicked.
KEVIN SECCIA: Hey, it’s me again, the same guy from above. What I’ve done is formatted this thing in such a way that you think this is someone else writing right now, but it isn’t. And that was the moment we all realized this could be something special.
K. SECCIA: Just to clarify, this is one guy writing all of this. Look closer, it’s all variations on the same name.
KEVIN SECCIA: Also, it’s being written but no part of it was ever oral… and I think the moment we realized it could be that way was when we knew we were onto something.
KS: You’ve gotta understand, people just weren’t doing oral histories that way, at all. Until us.
KEVIN SECCIA: He said that? That’s hilarious. Yeah, that’s true.
K. SECCIA: Wait, is there that much crosstalk in these things? Maybe go easy with that. The first time it’s kind of funny but not the second time.
KS: Wow. Oh yeah, you’re right.
KEVIN SECCIA: Someone else may have said this already but we knew we needed more than just this initial conceit. The whole meta aspect of the title and then the first few beats would only get us so far…
K. SECCIA: Some of us were concerned early on. We knew that around the 15th chunk of dialogue people were bound to start asking themselves, “Is this like, all it’s gonna be?”
KS: Or, “Do I even need to keep reading this thing? I mean, we get it.”
KEVIN S: And that’s the moment when everything changed. Someone, I forget who, maybe it was KS? This feels like a Kevin Seccia thing, honestly. Anyway, someone had the idea to introduce a new, separate story into the narrative, that went beyond just the oral history gimmick. Which is why we’ve decided to kidnap your dad. You, the person reading this, we have done a home invasion and taken your father hostage.
K. SECCIA: Whoa. Okay, no. That felt really weird. Like it was part of some other piece, in a totally different style.
KS: That was bad. Not the right tone at all.
VIN SECCIA: I think we were all getting a little complacent and things happened but we will not mention the kidnapping thing again. I’m so sorry.
KEVIN SECCIA: I’ll tell you my favorite moment of that whole time, when I was writing this oral history of this oral history. Most of it I never think about, because I’m not that guy anymore, you know? The guy who started writing this. You get older, you start to think about something else you’d like to write, or maybe you should just do the writing work someone has already paid you for. So, the best moment, for me, was this line… Because that’s when you were like, “Uh, the wheels are starting to come off of this thing, a little bit? How’s he gonna end this?”
K. SECCIA: That’s when the momentum definitely started to slow down and even the structure of the piece seemed to suffer. It was like, has he even read a lot of these things, or did he read like, two?
KEVIN SECCIA: Here’s the real crime. Maybe someone out there really loves these oral histories and they would’ve done an awesome job with the premise but now this guy got to it first and ruined it for everyone. That’s what I still think about.
K. SECCIA: I’ve heard that argument, and I get it, I really do. But you gotta understand, we were just a couple of kids messing around, but really it was one guy, and we didn’t know what we were doing. We, meaning I, had no idea how it would be received or even if anyone would ever read it. You’re telling me one guy can write an oral history, about nothing? No one had ever done that before.
VIN SECCIA: Let’s have fun, and try to make ourselves laugh. That’s basically all I was thinking about during that whole time, right now.
KEVIN SECCIA: Should someone else have written this piece? Yeah, maybe. But they didn’t. And I’m glad, because when all is said and done, it was the best job I’ve ever had, except for all of the actual jobs. That’s the thing you find out later, this meta idea, this experiment or kinda vague premise driven into the ground or whatever you want to call it… we did it, and no one can take that away. And no one had ever done that before.
VIN SECCIA: Oh, and you’ll never see your father alive again.