Document asked six of our favorite writers how living in isolation changed their consumption of art and media. The first installment features the author of the National Book Award finalist 'Black Leopard, Red Wolf'
Marlon James is the author of four novels, including The Book of Night Women, A Brief History of Seven Killings, which won the 2015 Booker Prize, and Black Leopard, Red Wolf, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, and which Michael B. Jordan has bought the film rights to. Read his conversation with actor Daniel Kaluuya for Document’s Fall/Winter 2019 issue here.
Maybe we need a new name for what Covid-19 is doing to us, this new sort of quasi-delirium. Covidium? Covidium and confinement has led me to engage in all sorts of atypical behaviour, some of which I have no explanation or excuse. For example, I am now watching TV shows all the way to the end. Not binge watching exactly, my eyes are far too promiscuous for even eight hours of loyalty, but given that I never finish watching anything, getting to the ends of The Plot Against America and Ozark felt like a milestone. That doesn’t mean either was good. Jazz has always opened up new spaces for me, especially when I am stuck in a place I didn’t want to be, so of course I’m listening to tons of it. Or rather, I’m listening to tons of Alice Coltrane, Joe Henderson, and Alice Coltrane with Joe Henderson. I’ve been told that it’s spiritual jazz, but try to not read too much into that. Or maybe, as we all look to some sort of religion for meaning, this is as close as I will ever get.
As for writing (since I am a writer), Terry Tempest Williams once said she wrote so that she could have more than one life. I write for six to eight hours every day, always thrilled to be in any world but my own, and despondent when, as I shut my laptop, I return to it. Despondent, that is, until I begin a new relationship with a brand new TV show, one that I have absolutely no intention of being faithful to.