— Mor­gan Parker,

author of Mag­i­cal Ne­gro (Tin House Books, Fe­bru­ary)

Poets and Writers - - The Literary Life -

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.”

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