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On “Children of the New World”: An Interview with Alexander Weinstein

“Humor helps the heart to open. And heartfelt laughter leads us towards greater connection with those around us. If you can find a way to share humor with others, then there’s an openness towards greater listening and compassion. With the serious topics I write about […] there’s a way such stories can calcify the heart if one isn’t careful. I noticed this in my teaching—if I’m just giving my students the disturbing facts about humanity without humor, it can lead to depression, discouragement, and a deeper political/social apathy. So, humor seems to restore our humanity to us—it allows us to deal with suffering with a more open heart.”

On “Desert Boys”: An Interview with Chris McCormick

“I think most fiction is fundamentally about people who, in one way or another, are both insiders and outsiders at the same time. Kush—who’s half-Armenian and half-white—is destined for it. He’s got the privilege of access to this place, but feels othered by his bicultural life. I wanted a narrator who felt like a visitor in his own home. He can’t put his finger on why. He feels like he’s living in the wrong place, and then he thinks he was born at the wrong time in history: he listens to music from the 60s and 70s, he wishes he were alive during a more politically-engaged era, he believes he could’ve been a man of significance in a different set of circumstances.”