The Next Big Thing

Friend and poet Jessica Dyer was kind enough last week to tag me for The Next Big Thing, a series of self-interviews by writers regarding their forthcoming projects.  Here, I’ll try to talk a little about my own next big thing.

What is the working title of the book?
The current working title is Navigations.  I don’t like it very much.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
It’s my graduate Nonfiction thesis, meaning that if I want to graduate then it’s something I have to write.  It’s also right about that time in my twenties—or, perhaps, my life—where I need to evaluate the decisions I’ve made in order to get to where I am.  Essentially, it’s about the different ways I’ve navigated social constructs of class, race, sexuality, gender, etc. that I’ve adopted along the way.  What does it mean, to me, to be a twenty-something, black, straight, aspiring middle-class American male?  I want to address all of these things.

What genre does your book fall under?
Critical Memoir/Personal Criticism

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Nichelle Nichols can play my mother.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
In which he scrutinizes the hell out of himself and his awful wish to write with whiskey.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
This is a problematic question in that I’m not really done yet.  I began writing it in June, and I’m currently sitting at a little over 130 pages.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Eula Biss, James Baldwin, David Lazar, Maggie Nelson, Christopher Hitchens, Virginia Woolf, Patricia Hampl, Anne Carson, and a quarter-life crisis.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I wrote about sex, drinking, and trips to Europe.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Neither.  A university press, I hope.

My tagged writers for next Wednesday are …
Abby Hagler, who knew what I was writing even before I did.
Ryan Spooner, who workshops not only my essays but also my life.
Colleen O’Connor, who is a bucket of brilliance.
And Jennifer Tatum, who gets me.

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