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Playboy Interview: Ta-Nehisi Coates

“Things don’t just flow out of your brain. It’s not like, Hey, I’m brilliant. Show up, paper right here, bam, another banger. No—you sit and you struggle with yourself and you stop cutting your hair. I’m not cutting my hair right now. You stop shaving, like I’m not shaving right now. You remember that you can fail. I’ve failed several times. The fact that everybody else don’t see that don’t give me the right to not see it.”

More: Ta-Nehisi Coates on the Longform Podcast

The Dark Side of Longform Journalism

“When I was covering the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, was there a real difference between my wanting to get to the village or hospital where people were dying terrible deaths, and my wanting people to be dying terrible deaths in whatever village or hospital I happened to be going to? Every assignment presents some variation of that question.”

More: Our complete archive of Mogelson’s articles and short stories