Kazuo, I Love You So
What I learned from interviewing Kazuo Ishiguro in front of 500 people:
- Call him "Ish." No, really.
- Seasoned writer-performers know exactly how they want things, and if you just listen for cues and let them do their thing, your job is easy.
- They still get nervous, though. They're not robots.
- You will be nervous the entire time, and will sound stupid by comparison, but not stupid in general.
- To prepare, read everything he's ever written to give you confidence (and pleasure), but you'll be able to use only 1% of that knowledge.
- For big-time writers, publishers make them fly and perform on the same day, every day for three weeks. One city each day. Which is insane.
- He loves his adorable wife maybe more than anyone has ever loved anyone else.
- Wear black, because he always wears black.
- He dislikes answering questions about how his Japanese heritage has influenced his work, questions that are too general, or questions that sound like they're fishing for PR in some way.
- Have two timepieces, because just as you're headed onstage, one of them will stop working.
- He'll want you to rephrase the questions in the moment, so they sound fresh.
- The audience questions will be 50% weird.
- Yet he likes them.
- If you've got a lavalier mic, don't laugh looking down, or you'll deafen 500 people at once.
- "Natural" deodorant just doesn't work. You have to use the kind that gives you Alzheimer's.
- Shut up, mostly. Nobody's there to see you.
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