Excerpt from an interview I did with Scribes United (read the whole thing here):
I’m a middle-class white American guy who grew up in 1980s Southern California. So I have this social wiring that goes way back, and it’s really classically 80s American, with the power-suit capitalist Wall Street aspirational imagery, with Tony the Tiger and Thundercats thrown in for commercial entertainment, and with a near celebration of addictive and consumerist behavior. It’s all in there. And then there’s this whole other world that I’ve been learning since traveling to Nepal halfway through college, and in this world life and death often hang on like a $10 balance, and also on that balance are just as much love and joy and suffering and hope and longing as are in an American life, and the balance is three Starbucks drinks from tipping into oblivion.
And despite living in that second world now for a good chunk of time, I’m still media-addicted with consumerist impulses and these images of what a successful American male life looks like that have just no bearing whatsoever on the whole life/death balance thing.
And the big secret that’s out in most of the world but that we’re still keeping in America is that those two worlds, the 80s American fever dream and the subsistence farmers of Nepal and Uganda, are really, really connected.