Michelle Orange is the guest. Her new essay collection, This is Running for Your Life, is now available from Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.


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Orange, Michelle (c) Trevor Ross(1)Hi Michelle, what’s new? Do you hate that question?

Hate is a strong word, why are we talking about hate right off the bat?


Why indeed. So, how are you, what do you know for sure?

That’s my dad’s opener. What if we just did an entire interview of false starts? Where you open with something innocuous and then one or both of us becomes too self-conscious about it to continue?


thisisrunningyourlifeThe Uses of Nostalgia and Some Thoughts on Ethan Hawke’s Face

Let’s call it the theory of receptivity. It’s the idea, often cited by young people in their case against the relevance of even marginally older people, that one’s taste—in music or film, literature or fine cuisine—petrifies during life’s peak of happiness or nadir of misery. Or maybe it’s not that simple. Maybe a subtler spike on the charts—upward, downward, anomalous points in between—might qualify, so long as it’s formative. Let’s say that receptivity, anyway, can be tied to the moments when, for whatever reason, a person opens herself to the things we can all agree make life worth living in a new and definitive way, whether curiosity has her chasing down the world’s pleasures, or the world has torn a strip from her, exposing raw surface area to the winds.