I’m Jason Schwartzman, the actor. I’ve starred in Rushmore, Bored To Death, and The Darjeeling Limited. I am extremely charming and famous. My cousin happens to be Nicholas Cage…OK, OK, FINE, I’m not THAT Jason Schwartzman, though I am frequently mistaken for him. I’m the writer JS, and my debut book, No One You Know: Strangers and the Stories We Tell, came out in May 2021, after an unlikely six-year voyage. Most of my writing takes the form of essay and micro-memoir that explores subjects like strangers, identity, what it means to know someone, interactions, storytelling, memory, and the psychology of space (man is whatever room he’s in, after all). I’ll be blogging about all those topics, along with my book, here on Medium.
So. Who is this guy, you ask? What’s this strangers book? Here’s a little dossier I’ve prepared on those very questions.
What I do all day, as Studs Turkel would put it
I’m the senior editor for True.Ink, a revival of the classic adventure magazine that Hemingway, Huxley, Breslin, and others wrote for back in the 40’s and 50’s. I write our weekly almanac, manage IP, and interview hot air balloonists, bison herders, and other adventurous folk. We’re a scrappy outfit interested in narrative nonfiction and vets of some wild capers like racing to Cuba on General Patton’s boat, hunting for Genghis Khan’s tomb in Mongolia, and crowdsourcing our own racehorse. Our latest project is a real-life adventure game called Nine Arches. I also work as a Biographer for StoryTerrace, instructor for Catapult, and Resume Expert for Indeed, among other literary and freelance endeavors.
What my book’s about (according to the jacket copy)
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.
Flotsam of myself, just for fun
I’ve lived in New York, St. Louis, Mexico City, and now Berkeley…I used to work as a tour guide…My ping-pong nickname is the “drunken mosquito” due to some solid spin. What else?…Trying to remember my OKCupid profile from 5+ years ago to marshal other miscellaneous facts…Lucinda Williams is often on my playlists…Lately, I’ve been burning through Rachel Cusk’s Outline trilogy…I just saw a monarch butterfly flutter past my window as I was writing this…I’m a believer in keeping a notebook/journal…One day, I hope to disrupt the fortune cookie slip industry with better aphorisms.
Ways to find me or get to know me better
Website & interviews: jdschwartzman.com
More about No One You Know here.