Before I was contracted to write about nonfiction I'd started a series (yeah, series. three really) of novels about the Civil War. This is much more experimental and much more dangerous. But what the hell--I got jumped by some projects kids when I was nine, and smacked over the head with a trash-can when I was 16. What's the worst that can happen? Besides, fear and writing don't really go too well together.
The point here is to get past this notion of enslaved black people rendered crudely as:
On that note you can see me outlining the thinking behind the fiction project up at MIT here
. If you just want to hear me playing around the voices (there are four of them) you can listen below. The first in this series focuses on an interracial Virginia family in the run up to the War. I don't have much idea about how to get all of this done. I never expected to have any of these opportunities, frankly. But everything meaningful I've ever gotten has come from playing out of my league. So here we go again.
The book is loosely based on the Christiana Riot
. And The Godfather
. And The Wire
. And Illmatic
. And Ragtime
. And Cannibals All
. Yeah. I think that about covers it...
You'll have to get past the sound of my voice. It doesn't much match the writing. Nevertheless, I think I'll randomly post one of these every month or so.
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is a national correspondent for The Atlantic
, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues. He is the author of The Beautiful Struggle
, Between the World and Me,
and We Were Eight Years in Power