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The New York Times interview
A short post from vacation
I’m off this week and trying to get some rest, so I am keeping things short.
But I did want to flag a 2,700 word piece that The New York Times published Monday, about me and my book.
When I sat down to talk with Times reporter Jane Coaston I didn’t ask her at the top of our coffee what kind of article she was writing. Rookie mistake. Then, as we talked for close to an hour, I felt like I was inarticulate and vague and repetitive. At the end of our conversation I finally did ask what she was writing, and she said it would be an edited transcript of our interview, a Q&A essentially.
Oh no, I thought, what did I say that I’m going to regret?
Turns out, it was fine. The interview reads pretty well actually. You can read it here.
At the very end, though, I was able to say something that felt good and right. Here’s that exchange:
Coaston: I’m also curious about things you missed when you were younger — parts of the culture, debates about politics or reckoning with racism — that you were not a part of because your community was like, “We’re not going to do that.” I wondered what it was like for you to go back and be like, “Oh, I didn’t even realize that while this was happening, all these other people were having this separate conversation.”
Ward: I missed out on stuff that was deemed to be sort of inferior or subpar, substandard, below us, which, in fact, has been the stuff I found to be very meaningful and fulfilling in my life. That more embodied way of being in the world is like a faith that’s more about loving your neighbor and loving the world. To me, that’s — one of my great regrets is that it took me so long to love the world, because it was so deeply ingrained in me to move through the world as if there’s toxic poisons everywhere. And there’s a lot of joy in loving the creation.
The Times also created a colorful portrait of me based on a photo from my trip to the University of Southern California a few years ago. Some people thought it didn’t look like me. And while I agree, I still kinda liked it. It’s still pretty cool to have a portrait of you in the New York Times.
My Summer Reading
A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
The Woman They Wanted by Shannon Harris
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
Disobedient Women by Sarah Stankorb
American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin
Until next week …
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