Hi, aren't we fancy like sitting here on TV together?
Yeah, yeah, with flowers.
I know and a little bit of water too. That's free. You can have that.
So you know, we're talking about story at kinda the highest level, like how we do it and why we do it. So can you just take a stab at why you think there's this pervasive cross-culture, cross-time need for us to tell each other stories all the time?
Just that, just that simple question, please.
Just that tiny thing? Why we speak? (laughs)
No, why we shape everything into these narratives.
Yeah, it works as a singular individual personal and as a universal but I just, I mean, it's how I know people, how I come to know them and how I make myself known and I think it stretches out from there but, yeah, for me, again, I'm so, I really deeply believe if you end up being a writer, you're somebody who's been saved by books and saved by stories so, for me, it's literally how I make orde...
r of the world, how I understand things, how I cross-culture know my own space, I mean, yeah, and, again, I grew up super, super, super religious. This is the longest I've gone without saying religious or the Holocaust but there, now I've said it. (Both laugh) Let's talk about the Holocaust. No, but for me, I grew up in a world of stories. I had a real sort of old world upbringing.
Right, all the biblical stuff and --
Yeah, but not, yes, we call it biblical stuff but those characters are living characters to me. I mean, that's just taught as truth and as a living thing so pretty much everything I taught was through story.
And did you have great storytellers in your life? Like when you think, like my Aunt Mary tells like an incredible story.
And I remember watching her do it at Thanksgiving and thinking, of all the little tricks in the whole wide world, you know, from cartwheels to making jewelry and whatever else was on my mind as a 10 year old, that's the coolest trick.
Is she just silenced an entire room of drunk and loud people to tell this story and they were hanging on every word.
Did you have somebody like that?
Well, three things but the loudness things matter, my wife, you know, I put it in my last book, will put a hand on my knee like, oh my friend from Maine is in, you have to let other people talk and I'm like, if you can't hold the room, you should not be telling a story.
But I did have people like that, the first --
Pretty cut throat in your house.
Oh God, that's New York, yeah, New York Jewish rules, like you better have a good joke or just, you know, yeah, but back to people like that. Clearly, for one, shout out 1970's Long Island, the TV set was my main source of education and I just --
What were your shows?
Just, I mean, there were five channels, we didn't have cable but I just would watch eight to to 14 hours a day and now we have a child in Brooklyn and if you let them see a screen for a second, Child Services will take them from you forever.
But I was, yeah, raised by a TV set but back in that, if you want to talk about supreme early storytellers, this teacher was so good and so bananas, Maura Geyer, she was like two feet tall. I mean, she seemed small when we were in first grade and she was maybe 300 but now she was probably but she was at least 300 but she would act out, I mean, we would do the Bible in the room, I mean, crazy stuff, the burning bush, she filled the, I mean, she set the garbage pail on fire.
Stuff like that, like we would really do stuff --
Right, take it all the way.
Yeah, so it was like dramatic, crazed, active, against all educational --
And did you just lean into that so hard? Were you like I love that woman?
Yeah, yeah, yes, yes, and yeah. My education sort of dipped from there for many years.
I think it's very encouraging to all who are listening to this that you can watch 14 hours of television per day and your education can go to garbage and you can become an incredibly successful and respected novelist.
You're nice to say that but I try and calm us down as we talk about like pre, pre, pre nursery for our daughter and stuff like that. I'll be like, I'm not saying we have to get her a rotten education but I was like, if you're hungry for books and hungry for story, you can find a way. Yeah, I still feel outside-ery that I can't believe, you know, this world is my world, like the world of book and literature but yeah, I can't, I still cannot feel anymore outside or --
Was storytelling the only thing you ever wanted to do?
And what stories obsess you? Like what are your themes?
Oh, so I always call this playing your own grad student 'cause you're just telling your stories and it's only as you go out into the world and if you're fortunate enough to have a readership or people to discuss your work with you, you start to see, you know, every story is different to me, every book is different and then everyone will say like, there's lots of Jews in here, you know, but by the way that's a good thing like that's not one of my themes. I write about people. I don't think that's a subclass of people though, again, government's working hard to make it so again, but nonetheless, but yeah that notion of like, I can now see in my own work that I'm obsessed, having grown up in a black and white world, I'm obsessed with the gray space. I can't handle, to me I see the other side of everything.
And that probably really makes you a great storyteller, actually, because you can keep turning it and turning it and turning it and then it becomes sort of richer and more complex and harder to sort of pigeon hole.
One would hope but people write op-eds all the time or have opinions. I have opinions too but I can't understand what it means to not hear someone else or not consider another side. The example that's always right there for me, if you tell me my name wasn't Nathan now, I really would pause and say like, is she right? Am I having a dream? Am I having mini strokes?
There's like, I'll run through everything.
There are possibilities.
Yeah, I wouldn't just say like, no, that's my name. I'd be like maybe Kelly's got some, I should really listen to her.
I think that correlates with high IQ. I mean, I think tolerance for ambiguity and IQ, there's like a really high correlation there.
This is my favorite interview.
Yeah, I know, I'm really pumping you up a little bit but it's true that to hold disparate ideas in your mind at the same time and not have to eliminate possibilities but rather to just keep lifting more possibilities up onto your shelf of possibilities is a signal that you have a certain kind of mind, like an elasticity of imagination that's probably makes you very well suited to write stories.
You attribute it to IQ and I was like or it may be part of extreme anxiety but --
Could be. Well, I bet extreme anxiety and IQ go together too, maybe, I don't know. I'm out of my depth now.
Yeah, so, but yeah, so gray space obsesses me and I think that's it, where I grew up there was everything was right and wrong, right and wrong and then you start to explore that there are, sort of that idea like 10 commandments, like you're not supposed to commit adultery and then I'll be like what if you're really unhappy in your marriage and this is your chance at happiness? I'm like, that can't be so wrong. So gray space and injustice I see obsesses me. I just can't handle that the world isn't fair and just wanna explore those things and, yes, I like, I sort of feel always, the way I sum up writing is that it's, I feel it's almost it's own kind of science. I say it's like a formula with an infinite number of variables but none of them are fixed but if any of them is wrong, the story will be broken and I like that infinite --
The puzzle of it.
Yeah, the puzzle of it. I just, executing the inexecutable. I don't ever want to sit down and write a story that I think can be written, as much hair pulling and worry and pacing comes out of that, I only wanna sit down and work on a project that I think like this, there's no way for this to work.
Right, but if it does.
But if it does then we've got a book.
So do you operate like with success fantasies or fear of failure? Or do you even know? Like some people imagine themselves winning the Nobel and that drives them and other people imagine everyone laughing at them behind their back and that drives them.
I'm very superstitious and evil eye oriented so I wouldn't even entertain certain thoughts but I really, I think, if you're asking a writer makeup, I think it's like or the writers I like, I think you'll never be disappointed. It's such a vulnerable thing, the writing, you're sort of never disappointed or surprised when you meet the writer of a certain work and there are, again, there's sub-categories so I can be like, yes, he's a sociopath or she is, but in the work that's where her emotion goes. That's a subset where you're like, I'm like, no, that's not surprising that they have terrible interpersonal skills but I do think it's all, like that there's tons of doubt. You're like drowning in self doubt and suffering and anxiety --
As you're writing.
Yeah, because, by the way, if you see the writers where you're like, what happened? Why did their work get bad and it's like, if they, 'cause it used to be for me like, all I want is to even entertain this dream or all I want is opportunity or give me a chance at each level and you're like, what happens when someone's made and you're like why has their work gotten bad? Like there is the danger of people who become confident, like that's ruination where they can't be edited and they can't hear anymore and no one --
Sometimes I see a film and I'm like this director's becomes so powerful that every P.A. and every gaffer was like cut and nobody could say it and now we have this extra 11 minutes that no one could remove from their work so --
Absolutely. Same in business.
I mean, you get so big in business that nobody on your, even in your executive staff can say to you, I think we're gonna be making a mistake here.
And now all the Benetton's are gone.
Now there's Starbucks on every corner where there was young people.
I know, so we'll see how long Howard Schultz can last and how long he can hear feedback.
So you're good at taking feedback. Is that --
I, uh... Yes.
'Cause I'm gonna follow up with people on this. I'm gonna find out.
You really can check. I love, if you're on the team, I want brutal, honest truth. When you're working, if anyone, I don't understand people who like, a friend gives them a book that's finished, you're like is Mazel Tov. Well done, after it's published but prior to publish, if you truly love someone, yeah, saying nothing's more like kiss of death. Even when I'm teaching if everyone's like charming, that is, you're dying out there, but back to the confidence thing, I really, really, really deeply believe this - so there's all the suffering and self, 'cause you have to, I'm alone with myself reflecting on the work like I have to like loop it and double loop it but I do think there's this weird ball bearing of confidence that has to be in there. There's this weird monstrousness that has to stay compact like, you know, you talk to writers where I'm like, where I say like all I do, I'm like classic neurotic (inaudible) and you're like, but you did save all your writing from third grade on and I was like, yes, 'cause I was gonna be a writer.
Right. That's your ball bearing.
That's my third grade archive so you're like --
But sometimes the faith that you're talking about is not I did, but I can. So when I'm in it and I'm looking at my stuff and I don't like it, the, my ball bearing is you can fix this, not like this is awesome. I don't have confidence in the work, I have confidence in my own ability which is developing to recognize crap --
To cut it and start over.
But, so, this is where you and I hang up a shingle but I love to writing coach. Like why do I teach? You know what I'm saying?
I know. Why do you teach?
I didn't for a long time but now I find it really rewarding like now I feel like an old man of letters like I watch (inaudible) but 'cause I can save them back to being from the outside, like I didn't know I could be a writer. I was so sad for so long 'cause all I dreamed about, that's all I wanted to be was a writer but I'm like, I can't be a writer. I don't have a license. I don't know anyone who's a writer.
I thought the, exactly.
That was my dream and just feel like I can save you 20 years with just what you said which is like, you publishing this rough draft? Okay, then don't waste time.
This is a continuum. Like just what you said, that the draft is a continuum, or the cycles. I remember when I was living in Jerusalem going, this is me going on a run but going on a run with my buddy Joel and I was like --
Do you keep 'em out there 'cause that doesn't seem like --
Yeah, that's how I won the marathon.
Tight for jumproping but we were on a long run, lots of hills in Jerusalem, but I remember, he's my college roommate, I still thank him in every book, he is a go to reader for me to discuss stuff but I remember being like and it was a turning point for me, I was like I'm gonna kill myself, this story's not working, it's hopeless. My life is over. He's like, is this week nine? I was like, yeah, he's like, this is our week nine talk, and I was like, oh, so then even the experience where you're like this is hopeless, now I'm like, we must be at week nine.
Every book you write, every story you write, you understand the patterns and you need, I call it letting the tapes run. Your experience is never gonna change, the confidence, different things, they're not gonna alter but you're gonna learn to listen to them differently. So that idea where someone else quits at that point where you're saying this, you know you're working on your memoir and you're like, this is hopeless,
Then you know to be like, okay, now I'm gonna just chew through this but there's a whole separate, if we, do we have 90 more hours?
No, I'm upset --
What I'm thinking about is raising kids because I have two kids and my older kid goes through something and I panic and the second time they go through it, I think, it's fine.
I've seen this show before and it's like that when you work on your fourth book, you're like, right this is nine, week nine. Everything is horrible and I'm a joke and imposter syndrome creeps in and I tell my husband it's over and this is what we do this week and then next week we think, I did solve one little problem though.
I did make that one sentence better and that makes, it's like hitting one good golf shot or something and you're like, I think I might try to keep playing.
But that's, but now you're onto my sweet obsession over the last years which is like the actual chemistry of writing and the subconscious and dissociated states which is where I get all weird,
Mm Hmm (affirmative).
But the idea that the work is getting done, why everyone if you talk to anyone, I did like a crazy hour of radio on this. I talked to like a physicist and an actor and all this stuff but everyone will say oh, I was taking a shower, when I walk the dog. It's a very strange thing.
I completely believe in it.
Like the work is getting done. You can't possibly figure out a problem with writing because you know everything at every point. So I always say, how can I know something on Monday that I didn't know on Friday, like that literally your subconscious is engaged.
Yes, and so I often tell people that my only real tip is to write everyday.
Because I think if you, even Saturdays and Sundays, because I think if you keep it in your subconscious, then you give your subconscious more to work with in terms of solving your little, untying your little knots.
So I have a question for you. So back to --
I'm interviewing you.
No, go ahead.
But no, we'll go back to growing up religious, like I can't believe where I see the form of everyone who does anything that's sort of an obsessive continuum train, anything whether it's religion or yoga or if you're an archer, like if you talk to anyone, it's about building this sacred time where you have to do it everyday. It's like training your brain and I really fight it. I really believe like the six day cycle, like that's where there's a Sabbath and you end up like lately I'm on deadline --
So you take a day off?
I don't, now I've been on deadlines so I've been working around the clock for months but I really try when it's the regular time and you're building the book to have that day off 'cause I really think it lets you recharge. When you become an obsessive, it's actually harder to not work than to work.
Those job interviews - what's your failing? I just work too hard.
That's right. (laughs)
So, but I do, it's what keeps me sane. I like to write.
Yeah and when you're building out a character, like what do you love thinking about with them, like what they wear or how they talk or who their mother is or what like questions are your favorite questions to sort of resolve about any given character? Or is it way more organic than that?
Yeah, yeah, I was gonna say, there's, I always tease like Colson, Colson Whitehead, he's a good friend but like, I'll be like, I always use him as the example, like he's a mapper. I can say do you want to have dinner March 11, 2020, he'll be like I'll be on chapter nine and I'm like, you know?
Right (laughs), right.
So you start to see if you pattern, like that's a nice thing about New York, people are like, why do you live here? It's so dense with writers but those friendships, like knowing other friends' processes really has helped me reflect on myself. I know I can have the shape for the book but a lot of it is really so some people really map sooner or need to know certain things about a character. For me, it really is sort of, yeah, (inaudible) and organic beyond like a global shape and then it's all done. I'm an obsessive redrafter. So I will just write through it, write through it, and the whole shape of everything can change an infinite number of times.
And you're very open to that, because that's a big thing about, the only thing that makes rewriting worthwhile is if you're willing to see it and make the changes and move things around. I mean, I do have this panicky feeling sometimes when I start really playing with like, I think I might slide this whole 1,500 words back 50 pages and see what that looks like and then you have this like low level anxiety like am I making it better or am I making it worse and how will I know? When will I know?
Can I, I'm leaning forward, my new thing, I like yell at people to just give the draft a crazy name --
Yes, I do.
It feels so, right? Oh, isn't that a thing? It's like it's just for fun.
Hail Mary moment, like we're just gonna go for something crazy but --
Isn't it funny how little things like that can make such a difference?
'Cause I definitely give 'em crazy names. I say like Wild Try,
Or Nutty Restructure.
I have never met anyone, you know, I tell that to students but like I don't know anyone else with books behind them, I've just never, yes, that's my thing the last year. That just helps me where I'm like --
It also helps you recognize 'cause any writer has 4,000 Word docs and so when you see it, you're like oh I remember Nutty Restructure day. That was a fun day, I had too much coffee but, and it yielded like one insight. I mean I destroyed my book for four hours but I did get that one thing out of it.
That's the other thing or those things where you write forward, write forward, work so hard and so deeply and recognize it's those tiny step, like that little bit --
Like those incremental, it's not an action sport.
It is such a game of millimeters.
I mean, that's another thing that there's this tremendous patience,
That you develop that's like, now the question I ask myself is did it get better today and even if it just got better by like a tenth of a percent, that counts.
Yes and it's private thrilling excitement that's of interest to no one else. (both laugh) Well, no, remember when the internet --
Writing: Private, thrilling excitement.
But in terms of process. I remember when I started 100 years ago, my agent, I was going up on stage for the first time, she's like, "No one wants to hear about process." You know, like, but I remember some writer was filming, like live streaming himself writing a story and I was like literally that is what the internet was made for.
Right, exactly. Yeah, it's like watching cats.
In their house.
What can't you do yet that you really wanna, like what's on your, boy, I'd like to get better at blank?
What I'm interested in? Yeah, for me, it's like a forward motion thing so, in a forward motion way, like this sincerely this book for, I like that what we're doing, if I was a gymnast, career is over, or if I just said to you like, so good to see you, you know I'm training for, yeah, I'm gonna be in the NBA, you'd be like, no, you're not. There's no iteration but I feel like a baby. Every new story or new book is like a complete experience of rebirth and new excitement for me.
But this one --
There's a lot of humility baked into that, what you just said. I mean, I don't know if you're aware of that but what you're saying is it's like I have another chance to try again.
Yes, that's how it feels every time and I really feel if you're, I just think if you're a circular thinker like I am and a circular storyteller, I still remember from childhood my friend, Melissa, standing next to me and everyone like pale in a circle, I was holding court in eighth grade and she's like, to new people, like had 11 stories going, she's like just stick with it, they'll all (laughs),
Yes, yes, my dad was like that.
He'll tie 'em all up. Yeah so I've got 97, I mean, I say this is the reason I don't have a radio show but I think when you start in your career, back to I studied with Marilynne Robinson and she really helped me.
Oh, isn't she just unbelievable?
Even on the sentence level. I was writing in Yiddish. I'd say like I should wait here all day for you to show up at five o'clock when we had a 3:00 P.M.? (laughs) And she'd be like, "You understand that's Yiddish, Nathan." I was like, I did not. So but stories were built that way and she taught me to communicate. It's just an act of communication of erasing space of a mind meld, like the book falls away. I read your book and like you and I are together if it's functioning and I think I spent a long time learning how to be linear to say this is how we get from point A to point B. This is how a story's communicated because Nathan like, kind of thinks someone would scream at me before talking to you on film, like slow it down, pause. Tell stories that end.
I'm hated across Europe by simultaneous interpreters. When they do those things, the audience just hears like, did not finish sentence. Did not finish sentence. They said that's what they just keep saying. (both laugh) And then I'll just jump. They'll be like, I believe he's talking about how to make a turducken and now it's fly fishing and now it's math. They're just trying to jump from so --
It's amazing that you can write.
Yeah so but this last book I was like to tell, it's an Israel Palestine book. It's something I really am still, I don't know what, like the last dodo or something but like I believe in peace.
Crazy notion but to tell that story, it's so circular and so like a serpent eating its tail and I said for once I really, back to moving, this was the first attempt that I'm gonna not unravel the circles. I'm actually gonna embrace the circles so I'm gonna tell a linear story but it's actually circle inside circle inside circle. So that was the conscious, if you ask me what I consciously was interested in exploring lately was like I'm actually gonna keep the circular way that a rough draft is for me but keep the structurally.
Yeah that you're gonna not, you're not gonna conform to the linear.
Yeah, it felt like you become an adult. This is my fourth book and I'm like, I'm gonna tell the story more --
I'm gonna let it be what it wants to be kind of thing.
Yeah and let it be they're all me and they're all your whole heart and soul but really more map it like my own brain pan.
And it hasn't come out yet, right?
Yeah. So it'll be interesting to see the response, you know?
On a million fronts. (laughs) Israel Palestine, no, it's not sensitive for anyone, so, that's the nice thing is like even just Jews will have like 1,500 ways to be angry at me.
Responses. Right, right. The last question I have before we get into our speed round is, what like pressures do you feel, and maybe you don't feel any actually,
Is what you just said but pressures to make your readers happy in any given way or to satisfy editors and publishers or to be commercially viable?
That's funny. That's like my joke with this new book. I said it's like (inaudible) report, if I say after 20 years, like I've finally given them a book that's not about a rabbi eating toast.
Yeah. (laughs) 'Cause it's a little, it's gotta kind of a juicy plot.
Yeah, that's what the structure needed but I literally get into arguments with my agent about this. She laughs so I'll be like, oh, yeah, I put in this really funny thing. She'll say like, oh, that was hysterical, that joke or whatever and I'll be like, yeah, I put it in the story, I didn't do it to be funny, craftwise, it needed a moment. She's like, would it have been so bad to put a joke in so that readers laugh and I was like, not for that, so you're asking a complex version of like whenever it's that question people are like, who do you write for and I feel like writers are always stumbling through it so I think if you're, I do know my brain at this point,
Yeah, and you're going with it.
No, it's more that anything, you will never read anything that I have written, like me Nathan has written. Like when I'm writing, that's warm-up. That's what I have to do all day 'cause that's my job but there's, back to (inaudible), there's a moment in everyday where I fall away, where I'm not and the fingers are typing and that becomes the book.
Everyday you get to that place?
I aspire to, I admit sometimes it's short but if you're in mode, one hopes. No I'm sure there are days where it's just not getting there. It's not an easy place to get to but I'm saying the finished book is comprised of those moments. So yeah, so if you're asking me of consciously who am I writing for or like am I trying to act --
Or do you have to push it away is really what I was asking.
Well, I just have to cease to be, my obligation is wholly to story so it's not anything, it's not like what is the reader, it's like what, yeah, my full obligation is to just what makes the story stronger. So that's the point. Like if it, if my favorite chapter is not serving the whole than that chapter is going even if I consciously know and say like oh, this is a super fun moment or anything. So, yeah, I guess all I'm ever thinking about, so yes that is thinking about the reader and that is thinking about an editor and that is --
But in a secondary way, it's just the story. This is what the story wants.
I think I can't, the pressure of it or the intensity of it, yeah, it has to not be about me or not about, it's simply what the story demands is all that's there.
Do you have any other creative ambitions? Like will you write a screenplay? Will you write some theater? Will you write stand up?
This was the first, my first book, Nora Ephron called, so I took it but she wanted me to write the first story and the first book into a play, The 27th Man, and I said, I wanna write a novel first. She's like, "Take your time." So I came back a decade later, you know, we had lunch once in awhile but yeah, she was like, "You have a play in you." So this was probably like five years ago already but I wrote that play with her --
At The Public, right?
Yeah, and then it went up at The Public and it was just, again, if it wasn't for her, she's so many peoples' sort of fairy godmother. She would come in and just be kind to younger people in the arts and just supportive but the experience of writing that play, I loved it so much. I loved working with the team. I love The Public. So, yeah --
So maybe again.
Yeah, I've written a second one that I'm working out of Lincoln Center. The title story, the last book, but the point is, yes, the, my job is to protect my time for the writing of fiction. That is my whole life so you'd say like, oh, this is --
And you're very clear on that point.
Yes but it's a weird side project but, again, it was Nora and then The Public and (inaudible).
It was this dream team so I did this thing but I saw it actually made more time for fiction, like it changed the way I worked, it changed the way I interact. Like my experience with editor, beloved editor, Jordan Pal-vin, our experience at building this book together was wholly different 'cause it just, back to story again --
And taught you things about collaborating
Oh my God about collaborating and relaxing, play people, like you have a thing. Fiction writers, we're such delicate flowers, it's extraordinary.
Yeah, so they'll say you'll like have a thing and you'll be in rehearsal and they'll be like, yeah, we're gonna take 10. Nathan, write me four new pages, you know, kill Steve in the next scene.
You have 14 minutes and I was like, I'll be back in seven months and now --
I just go crack my knuckles and be like how are these pages? And I was like, what a good lesson for me.
Back to the preciousness of it, that it's a living thing until it's finalized.
It'd be like writing for Saturday Night Live or something, right? It's like 11:30's coming whether you're ready or not.
And without lessening the pressure on the final product, like on, or not product's the wrong word but the final piece, the thing that you are crafting.
Right, right, right, right. So we have one more second. Will you do a little speed round with me?
Done. I would love that.
Name a book you wish you had written.
Without getting, ah, I'll tell you a book that I love. I don't feel like I interact with, I so admire, like that's their voice. It took a long time to be like, my voice is my voice. Like you're doing your work, your friends are doing their work but in terms of like favorite stories that just changed me as a person and said this is what a story does, I'm a huge Gogol fan, like The Overcoat, The Nose, to me that's, when people say, oh, I don't know how to write this love affair or I don't know how to get this person on the subway, he'd be like a man woke up without his nose and it was dressed as a titular counselor, like that idea like, if someone can put an epulis on a nose, I think you can get that person on the subway but to me in terms of owning a world, he's just with pathos and empathy, he's the maestro. So I love those stories.
What was the last story that made you cry?
I'm not a big crier and I get in trouble with, my sister and I, even with her family, friends, where people would go, that's funny, and they're like then laugh and I'm like, then be funnier. (both laugh) But I'm not a big, anytime I touch it, Grace Paley's Goodbye and Good Luck will make me weep every time. That's such a beautiful story of this woman telling her, it's like her wedding day and she's, was never gonna get married and telling her niece to tell her sister, it's the whole story of her life sort of told as a please tell your mom, goodbye and good luck. I could weep right now just hearing, not a joke, yeah.
If your mother wrote a book about you, what would it be called?
You Better Be Flossing. We really care about gum health, it's important.
(laughs) Yeah, the Englanders. Who can't you live without, creatively speaking?
I am so thankful for my support structure. So, yes, you know --
How many people are in your support structure?
Ever expanding 'til they all stop taking my calls but yeah, so I'm saying like, yeah, there's no way to like, I can do but it's yes, my wife and my assistant reader person and my friends and my and everyone crosses over, my editor and agent, that's why it always sounds so formal. You're like my, but there's no, I'm not good with boundaries, like we're all, it really feels like family at this point but I can't even tell you --
It's probably not working if it doesn't feel like family.
And you annoy different people at different, that's been the big lesson for me, like, sort of this idea.
Give them a little break.
Yeah, like don't torture my wife tonight. I walk the dog and put in the headphones and I'll call Lauren and she'll listen to me for a little while, you really, we've all been on that other side of the writer who's be like, you're like, call number 76 in three hours.
Right, yeah, you gotta spread out your neurosis.
Honestly so but --
If you could get everyone in the world to read one book, what would it be?
I already mentioned Marilynne. I don't know.
She's so special.
Go with Gilead.
Gilead's my number one favorite book ever.
Let's do Gilead. Well, then the world minus us. We've already --
Yeah, we've covered it but the rest of you eight billion, Gilead.
Thank you so much.
What a treat. Thank you.
Yeah, it's awesome. (upbeat music)