— Morgan Parker,
author of Magical Negro (Tin House Books, February)
What does a perfect writing day feel like to you? A good mix of intention and inspiration. No sense that I’m neglecting anything else, and no places where I’m needed. No external deadline. The time to read for pleasure, read as research, push an idea forward in a major project, and see a new idea sprouting. A perfect writing day feels like an exhale—the satisfaction of fulfilling a duty without fatigue or pressure. A perfect writing day is a cause to celebrate and permission to get up from the desk to do that. Why do you write? To explain myself. What would you say to the ten-yearold you? Sleep, dream, read, and love well. Everything you want is already coming true. You are a literary superhero—what is your name, your superpower, your kryptonite? Morgan Parker; Morgan Parker. What has changed you as a writer? Friendships with other writers. When I was young, writing was the thing that made me weird. It was my isolation as much as it was my escape. I felt like no one understood me—and that was why I wrote and one reason I still do. I’ve met people who have cared for and validated and encouraged me. It’s so much more than community—it’s also acceptance and empowerment. What would you say to someone who doesn’t believe literature matters? The stories that we tell ourselves and the stories we learn from others are a matter of life and death. Literature has the ability to literally change our minds—to change how we act, how we grow, what we believe, how we vote, how and when we speak. Everything is stories, and they’re everywhere—some good, some terrifying, some more complicated than we realize. By writing and reading literature, we learn empathy—and as a society, there is no change or hope without empathy.
“I believe in honesty, generosity, art, vulnerability, antidepressants, and lavender baths.”