One thing you might not know about me: Junot Diaz is my absolute favorite writer in the world. He’s a literary rock star. My idol. Sigh.
I love his books of short stories Drown and This is How You Lose Her. (Photo, left: my first edition paperback copy of Drown.) He has a thing for writing in the second person, which I love. I see it as a way of disconnecting from difficult emotions–which of course indicates how difficult it is to speak of those very difficult emotions.
Last night, Junot Diaz was interviewed on Late Night With Seth Meyers. Around the 2:30 mark in the video, he talks about teaching Creative Writing at MIT and the importance of both teaching work by diverse authors and finding diversity in books by white authors.
On the importance of teaching books by diverse authors:
- “If you don’t want to deal and relate and think about what it means to be a woman on this planet, you’re going to have serious problems. You look at this country and you look at this world and you need to understand it in complex ways, and part of that complexity is of course questions of gender… the same with dealing with the question of ethnicity and race.”
On the importance of finding diversity in books by white authors:
- His students might think that Dracula is the whitest book ever, but “all the British people in Dracula look at Dracula as the racial other, as a completely separate alien race.” It reminds them that “our world hasn’t ever been ever simpler, that there’s always been these questions.” And that’s good for kids to know.