How cool is Jason Reynolds?
One of the coolest.
For starters, the bio on his blog tells it like it is: he does NOT plan to write boring books. And ummm, he’s pretty much living up to that credo, delivering on that promise with When I Was The Greatest, for which he received the Coretta Scott King Award for New Talent, and 2015’s The Boy In The Black Suit.
I’m currently reading The Boy in the Black Suit and it’s the business. Grab it and meet Matt and Lovey. Now.
Jason is smart and funny and seems like the kind of guy you want to grab a drink with sometime, chill out, and shoot the shit. Even Beyonce loves him – she featured him on Beyonce.com for Black History Month, providing him a massive platform from which to put forth a heartfelt and important message.
Check it out here – he screen-shot it for you in case it one day disappears.
And with all of that going on – the energy, the excitement, the accolades – he’s hanging out around these parts for a second.
at Madhuri Blaylock Writes
because he is cool like that.
Jason doesn’t know me from Jack but was pulled into my orbit via that lovely beast, Twitter. He happened to retweet or favorite one of my tweets – which made me all kinds of silly happy because I’m a total dork like that – and I took a chance, a HUGE chance, shot him a DM about my interview series and what I’m doing, asked him if he would subject himself to my questionnaire
And because he is the coolest, Jason messaged me back soon afterwards with a simple
Let’s do it!
So here it is.
Getting Proustian With…
- What is your idea of perfect happiness? Total control over my own time. That, and traveling, which I guess has to do with having control over my time.
- What is your greatest fear? Both failure and success.
- What is the trait you most deplore in yourself? I’m outrageously disorganized. And I have terrible anxiety (connection?)
- What is the trait you most deplore in others? Judgment.
- Which living person you admire? My mother.
- What is your greatest extravagance? Shoes.
- What is your current state of mind? Scattered.
- What do you consider the most overrated virtue? Prudence.
- On what occasion do you lie? When people ask me how they look.
- What do you most dislike about your appearance? I have scars on my cheeks (hence the beard.)
- Which living person do you most despise? The leader of Boko Haram.
- What is the quality you most like in a man? Integrity.
- What is the quality you most like in a woman? Ambition.
- Which words or phrases do you most overuse? Seriously, interesting, word.
- What or who is the greatest love of your life? Writing.
- When and where were you happiest? Just recently in my bed when I found out I won the Coretta Scott King-John Steptoe Award. And then I got to tell my mom.
- Which talent would you most like to have? Singing.
- If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? Be a little less hard on myself.
- What do you consider your greatest achievement? Being able to live a decent life as a full-time writer.
- If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be? A person. Preferably, one that is musically inclined.
- Where would you most like to live? Paris, New Orleans, New York. Four months each, every year.
- What is your most treasured possession? An original Angela Davis WANTED poster, ripped off a telephone pole by my uncle in 1970. That and a Countee Cullen, 1st Edition of COLOR.
- What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? The thought of suicide, and the fact that no one notices.
- What is your favorite occupation? Writer.
- What is your most marked characteristic? That I believe that life could actually be a good time, most of the time. Fun is all I really want.
- What do you most value in your friends? Honesty.
- Who are your favorite writers? James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, Walter Dean Myers, Jacqueline Woodson, Kiese Laymon, John A. Williams, Countee Cullen, Jesmyn Ward, and the list goes on and on. Lots of faves!
- Who is your hero of fiction? So many, but recently, it’s been Esch, from Salvage the Bones. She just does what needs to be done, all the time, at all costs.
- Which historical figure do you most identify with? I have no idea. Gotta read more biographies.
- Who are you heroes in real life? My mother. My friend, Aaron.
- What are your favorite names? Names like Michael, and Thomas, and Brandon…but given to girls.
- What is it that you most dislike? Mean people.
- What is your greatest regret? No regrets (yet.)
- How would you like to die? In my sleep, without suffering.
- What is your motto? Process before progress. That, and Everyday is Saturday.
Jason Reynolds is a graduate of The University of Maryland, College Park. He has been reviewed and profiled in The Washington Post, NPR books, Kirkus, Hornbook, School Library Journal, WNYC, Publisher’s Weekly, Poets & Writers, Gawker, mentioned as a standout in the Wall Street Journal, AM New York, Ebony Magazine, was awarded as a top book of the year by the New York Public Library system, and was the recipient of 2015 Coretta Scott King – John Steptoe Award for New Talent.
Reynolds is on faculty at Lesley University, for the Writing For Young People MFA Program, and currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.