My debut book from Outpost19 is forthcoming May 2021
"During a lonely and difficult year, author Jason Schwartzman began allowing regular, everyday interactions with strangers to escalate. In NO ONE YOU KNOW, Schwartzman compiles dozens of these encounters and deftly reveals the kinship he finds there, ultimately reconsidering what it means to know someone. From taxi dispatchers to aquarium attendants, drifters to neighbors, exes to siblings, Schwartzman captures the space between people, meticulously distilling the turning point when strangers become intimates. Heartbreaking, insightful, and often profoundly funny, NO ONE YOU KNOW revels in connections, examining how we make ourselves known. A rich and beautiful debut."
Stories from the Book (Nonfiction)
"Now, she is hiding. On her days off, she says, she doesn’t come here, where we are."
2020 Best of the Net Nominee!!
"I don’t know what I can say. Or do. Or if I’m just crazy. So far on the outside of something I can’t really see it."
"I enjoy these slight errors in translation, as though he is saying that availability is a kind of proximity. Emotion, love, generosity just a matter of meters, miles, roads."
"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."
"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?"
"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."
I’m a Founding 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. I also run the IP department and am the co-creator of 9 Arches, our real-life adventure game.
I’m available for manuscript consultations, editing, and ghost writing. Recently, I’ve helped shape a celebrity memoir, a nonfiction book about a spaceship that will save humanity, a memoir of a holocaust survivor, a magazine essay about grief, as well as the Underdog Hall of Fame.
Contact: jdschwartzman [at] gmail [dot] com
Blog >> Unknown Index
Other Nonfiction >>
"I think the girls are friends, though the way they talk about their friendship, it’s almost like they’re lovers, their intimacy treasured, a special thing to be guarded and protected—other connections pale in relation to it, they say."
"The reverie starts when I see the bell, purple and tilted mid-ring. I’m in St. Louis again and it’s nine years ago, after midnight..."
"Is that why we’ve finally bloomed—the tenderness that comes with an ending? Or is it an evolution?"
"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."
"Like Blanche DuBois, exit pollers depend on the kindness of strangers."
“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."
"A former Chicago Bull, beaten down and broke(n), ventures to a foreign land. A group of ex-NBA stars take the court with diminished ball skills. A rotund despot lurks."
"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."
"The mall is perhaps the last place one would look to find a street poet, so to blend into the Galleria, Henry Goldkamp told security he was an H & M model promoting apparel..."
"So, my banter is lackluster. You think Jordan was chatting away before a NBA Finals game?"
"The mirror waited for her at home. She pulled back her lips, like a wolf bearing fangs at itself."
"'C’mon,' says the Clyde figure, tapping on the window in erratic fits, his Bonnie pulling strands of her hair out under the mask, and damn, how does it all just slip away?"
"I heard it on the basketball court, after someone missed a shot. No more pianos. I heard it on 30th Avenue, after someone wouldn’t give any change to a beggar. No more pianos. I heard it everywhere. One night my roommate asked me how my day went and I heard myself say it. No more pianos."
An Index of Myself (just for fun) >>
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 as an illuminating 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 (I 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 Bilbo
0 >> places dearer to my heart than St. Louis