5 BURNING QUESTIONS WITH NATE BROWN

  1. What’s the worst thing about writing?

The worst thing about writing is probably feeling like you’re neglecting the work when you shouldn’t be. Could be your job that’s getting in the way, or it could be Netflix. Could be your commute or your freelance work, your teaching or your need for sleep, but the feeling of not getting to it when you’re itching to is really awful.

  1. What do you do when people ask “How’s your writing goin?

I say “Neither the book nor I are dead yet.”

  1. Describe your thoughts on writing (either your own or in general) using as many nouns as possible.

There are too many to list! Reading is an immense pleasure, and while I don’t find sitting down to write pleasurable exactly, the thought that you might be creating something that’s thoughtful, interesting, or intelligent and that it might get read by someone at some point and that it might bring that person some pleasure is a nice thought. Here are some nouns: car, cart, hand cart, hand truck, tanker truck, tank, fish tank, fish stick, stick of gum, gum arabic.

  1. What is it about your discipline (fiction/poverty/nonfiction/other) that draws you to it?

Like a lot of people, I began reading fiction (early chapter books for kids and then comic books and, later, short stories and novels for school) as a form of escapism. I appreciate that fiction can be a big tent (and I think it’s getting bigger). Genre snobbery and hand-wringing about the state of literature aside, there’s still so much more great writing in the world than any one of us could every possibly hope to read. I’ll die having missed some great fiction and while I find that regrettable, it’s also a little bit of a comfort, you know? There’s plenty of great work out there to be found and read—and plenty still to be written, too.

  1. What’s your favorite word or words? What about it/them appeals to you?

Oh, that’s a tough one. I don’t know if I have a favorite word, exactly, but here and there, a really nice phrase or two will kick around in my head for long periods of time. Recently, the notion of the “great filter” has been on my mind. A kind of adjunct notion of the Fermi Paradox, the great filter is the theory that as intelligent life evolves, it comes up against a massive, limiting factor or force that prevents further evolution. So, instead of evolving, that life slams directly into the cliff face, so to speak. I like the sound of the great filter, and I find the notion pretty interesting (and terrifying).

Bonus question: Macgyver has been rebooted and stars the actor who played “Havok” in the XMen reboots. Like, what’s going on with that? How do you feel? Does it comfort you to know that while the new Macgyver doesn’t have a mullet, his hair is quite voluminous?

For as much as I love an original show, I’m all for reboots, and it only makes sense that if somebody’s going to pick up where Richard Dean Anderson left off that he should have a thick mane. Will Millennial MacGyver be as sly or a wry as Original MacGyver? Will he be as fundamentally good? Probably not. Our television characters have gotten pretty damned dark (looking at you, Jessica Jones, President and Mrs. Underwood, Omar Little, Walter White, etc. etc.), but even if this upstart MacGyver has a drug problem or some serious daddy issues, he’s bound to be good at kludging things together to improvise weapons. And he’ll always know precisely which wire to pull out of the block of C-4 in order to disarm the suitcase bomb. And, if there’s any justice in the universe, he’ll always have hair so thick that no person can easily run their fingers through it.

To learn more about Nate, come to Charmington’s on Tuesday, November 15th at 7 PM. We are glad that neither you nor your book are dead yet, Nate. Come out on Tuesday and celebrate life, writing, and wonderful words.

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