Creative Nonfiction Stories & Essays >> Jason Schwartzman
"Is that what happens on a set? The proximity to a larger fiction inspiring smaller ones? Everyone fancying herself a storyteller? Or is it just what happens anywhere, inventing yourself over and over again? "
"When there are no more details, when you’ve given them all up, they aren’t yours anymore. Your memory is no longer your own."
"After a while, he’s anyone else and so am I. I still don’t know for sure that it is him, if he too has traced the zigs and zags of such a small history. All I know is that each game is its own."
"From far off, I see a solitary figure coming toward me — the distance gives us time to contemplate each other."
"From a distance the crown almost looks like solid gold. But as I walk farther up 30th Avenue in Astoria, I can tell there is something not quite right about it."
"Is this the work of the bridge, you wonder, expunging parts of itself it doesn’t need, littering out its life? Or is it full of holes?"
"He decided not to tell her, to keep it, a memento of their night, one where there might not be another. In fact, he never told her, perhaps concerned the evening had not appreciated in value for her the way it had for him."
"Like Blanche DuBois, exit pollers depend on the kindness of strangers."
"Rubbing alcohol pools into centimeter-deep crevices in his palms. But it’s the best way he knows how to get clean—vital after hours of rummaging in vast networks of garbage."
"Eventually we stopped going, stopped guessing, we all got older. But it made its imprint as a kind of magic, as elemental as the heat of the bonfire once we finally arrived, its charring, burning wood alongside the coldest air I’d ever known up till then."
“His tours get at the idea that “history” is too often taken to mean large, distant events and not the fabric of everyday life. But history is everything—it is us."
"Before they were sold, the men and women in shackles had to turn their backs to prove they bore no marks — no one wanted a defiant slave."
"At its highest level—not just fans wearing dry-cleaned jerseys to games but the brand-building superfans in greasepaint and foam rubber and such—NFL fandom is brutal, almost Hobbesian, and both trivial-seeming and wildly grandiose."
"When I ask what he’s worried about, he gruffly replies that I might want to put a hit on Lucky, that he might owe me money and I’m seeking him to smash out his knees with a baseball bat."
I’m the Senior Editor of True.Ink, a revival of a heritage adventure magazine. My writing has been published in the New York Times, New York Magazine, Narrative.ly, The Rumpus, River Teeth, Nowhere Magazine, Hobart, Newtown Literary, Gothamist, and Untapped Cities, among other places. I was also a ghostwriter for a recent celebrity memoir, and currently am on StoryTerrace's roster of biographers.
For True, I’ve interviewed bison herders, hot air balloonists, ice sailors, flame dancers, herring scholars, high divers, butterfly guides, Roughwater racers, tango composers, Tusheti seekers, historic boat captains, professional table tennis players, mountain climbers, backgammon masters, among other unusual folks.
Contact: jdschwartzman [at] gmail [dot] com
Blog >> Unknown Index
Some Awards >>
"No One You Know," Semi-Finalist, Gold Wake Press, 2019
"The World We're In," Short List for 2018 Remember in November Contest for Creative Nonfiction, Hippocampus Magazine
“The Shape of a Story," Semi-Finalist for the Brooklyn Nonfiction Prize, 2017
#GWstorieseverywhere, Contest Winner, Gotham Writers Workshop, July 2015
Boysko Prize for Literature, 2012
An Index of Myself >>
200,000 >> number of subscribers to True's newsletter
10,000 >> readers logged for my most-read story (The Rules of Getting to Know Someone)
1,146 >> movies I've seen (much less now than I used to, but I've always made notes on them, and the doc reads now as an interesting chronicle of my life — who I was seeing movies with at a given time, what types of things I'd notice, what changed if I liked one more on a second viewing, a journal of sorts)
25 >> estimated hours I’ve spent trying to rediscover my once-formidable backhand (finally succeeded thanks to a deeply sunburned, criminologist-turned-tennis instructor named Mitch)
18 >> kids on the high school soccer team I coached at Columbia Secondary School (we won the DIII title!)
7 >> number of students that were in my New York Writer’s Coalition workshop for the visually impaired
3 >> number of lucid dreams I’ve had (started doing reality tests to increase this. It's a way to live twice, as an old dream weaver once told me)
2 >> cactuses I’ve owned; Natalia (RIP), Bunny (very much alive)
1 >> times I’ve found a gold ring in a pond, a la Frodo
0 >> places dearer to my heart than St. Louis