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Bookslut Managing Editor Charles Blackstone is a writer-about town.

The town is Chicago. It’s toddlin’, as you know, and I imagine Charles eating long lunches in the patio seating of River North restaurants, sampling the delicate cheeses available in our bountiful Midwest, and later watching the sunset stream over west town from his window with the satisfaction of knowing that it is all being well done, and done well. I’ve lunched with Charles on the patio, performed with him now and again over the years, and have come to admire the apparent effortlessness he uses to approach the literary life.

He was kind enough to submit to a conversation below, where we talk about oh-so-many things. Enjoy!

_MG_0150FWhen was the last time we saw each other?

Oh, you and that Don Swaim routine.


What? He was a really good interviewer—or maybe not a really good interviewer, but an insightful reader who asked good questions about books. Anyway, you still listen to archives.

I do. I love the one with Carver. And Toni Morrison’s. Joyce Carol Oates has a good one, from 1987, I think?

71W30Ysr2LL._SL1200_We chose an open table at Bijan’s by the window. Almost simultaneous to our ascent, a harried-looking Teutonic cocktail waitress presented us with menus. Izzy excused herself to the ladies’. Once she was out of the room, I illuminated my Timex with Indiglo and took an inconspicuous glance at my wrist under the table. Tempus fugit—it was already after one in the morning. I was surprised at this late hour I was still conscious. I’d subbed an eight o’clock for Berkal, my grad student officemate; taught my own classes; drank wine through the tasting and vodka at dinner; and hadn’t even once needed to mask a yawn behind a gulp of water or dissembling smile. But for most of the evening, I’d largely only needed to be responsible for a third of the conversational momentum. There was no falling asleep at the table now. Izzy and I, here, were officially on a date.

Charles Blackstone is the still-fairly-new Managing Editor of the now-iconic Bookslut, a pioneer of online literary culture.  I was interviewed by Bookslut in 2004, after its founder and curator, Jessa Crispin, had recently moved from Austin to Chicago.  Jessa, who has always struck me as a sexier version of a young Virginia Woolf, soon became a well-known figure in the Chicago literary scene—but Bookslut’s flavor has always been an international one.  When your book is mentioned on the Bookslut blog, you get emails from everyone from Richard Nash to random non-writer friends teaching English in Japan.  In a culture simply glutted with information, it still seems true that when Bookslut talks, people listen.