Promoting Manhood for Amateurs has been keeping Michael Chabon busy these days. On top of a series of book readings across the country, Chabon has been giving interviews to a plethora of newspapers and magazines.
Perhaps most prominent was a New York Times article yesterday profiling Chabon and Ayelet Waldman. The piece looks at the two authors’ use of their families in their writing, specifically their two most recent non-fiction books detailing the highs and lows of parenthood.
“It’s not like writing about our family life is the daily bread of our writing,” Chabon told the Times. “We’re not Dennis the Menace or Family Circus.”
To the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (now only in online format, sadly) published a Q&A, where Chabon talked about his parenting philosophy. “Tell the truth,” he said. “That’s what we demand of [the kids], and that’s what they know they can expect from us. There are times when we can’t quite get the whole truth out, although that’s our goal, always. And we try to make an environment where there’s enough trust and support that it’s not going to be terrifying for them to tell the truth. They need to know that you’re not going to stop loving them no matter what decision they make.”
Chabon also said has recently been following the work of Julie Orringer and her husband, Ryan Harty. “I love their work,” he said. “I have tried to support them when they ask me to read their manuscripts. It’s a shared thing; I’ve asked them to read my manuscripts, too. We’re an embattled tribe.”
The Los Angeles Times asked Chabon what it is like switching to non-fiction. “There’s something liberating, refreshing, recharging about taking a memory or a particular subject or a recent occurrence in my life and just dwelling on it, in a restricted form, without having to worry about creating big set piece descriptions, or worry too much about thematic patterning, and all the kinds of things that I have to worry about when I’m writing a novel.
“But it also can be really hard, because I feel like I have to stick to the facts, and tell the truth, and not make stuff up,” on the other hand, he continued. “A lot of times, things didn’t really happen the way I would like them to happen, if I were writing a short story or a piece of fiction, and that can be kind of frustrating”
There are other interviews too, which I won’t excerpt but are worth reading. Among the interviews I’ve come across include the Kansas City-Star, the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle, the Globe and Mail, the Denver Post, and the Montreal Gazette.