July 22, 2009
Seattle Reading Local recently sat down for an email conversation with Paranoia & Heartbreak author and publisher of Black Heron Press. The conversation ranged over the strange career path that led Gold into his fifteen-year job working at a juvenile facility, the space between fiction and nonfiction, the difficulties of balancing life as a caretaker, publisher, and author, and the ethical obligations of the serious American writer:
SRL: . . . you have talked about how poverty and abuse is portrayed in mass culture. I remember you once saying that naturalistic books about the working class poor tend not to do very well and tend to be misunderstood. . . Why do you think that is?
Gold: I think novels about the working poor, or the poor generally, whether or not they’re working-class, don’t sell well because, by and large, the people who read novels aren’t from that class and don’t want to encounter the unpleasantness they associate with that class. It’s much easier to look at the poor as a people apart. That way, too, when they commit crimes, it’s easy to look at them as inherently bad, even evil.