June 20 2018

Meet Jason McBride: Writer, Editor, Picture-Book-Reader

Every couple weeks, we’ll feature a short profile of one of our many beloved freelance collaborators. Here, a few words with Jason McBride, the editor of Block.

My Work:

“I’ve been a full-time freelance editor and writer for almost a decade. I’ve written for The New York Times Magazine, New York, The Believer, Hazlitt and a bunch of others. I started and edited Coach House Books’ Exploded Views imprint, a series of books of cultural reportage. And I’m currently writing the first authorized biography of the late American writer, Kathy Acker, for Columbia University Press.”

My Routine:

“Unpredictable! I used to be at my desk by 6 a.m. most days but I have a young kid–he turns four in September–and those early morning hours are now spent reading with him, building elaborate Lego towers, or watching Caillou. He heads to daycare around 8, though, and then I spend the day ping-ponging between various freelance assignments, my book and, of course, Block. It’s a fairly breathless sprint until 4:30 or so, when I start making dinner and then go pick up my son. (My wife works long hours too.)”

My Obsession:

“Honestly, I don’t have a ton time and energy outside of work and family. Every free moment gets funnelled into my book. I’ve been obsessed with Acker for about 25 years. She was the first professional writer I saw read in public and that experience was the literary equivalent of first hearing punk. She was tough and tattooed, and her writing was like nothing else I’d encountered: violent, sexual, and disorienting, but explicitly informed by the literary theory I was then studying. I read everything she wrote, and after her early death, at 50 of breast cancer, I waited for someone to publish her biography. Acker led a very colourful life, knew (and slept with) everybody, and played a role in pretty much every significant American cultural moment in the second half of the 20th century. But no biography ever materialized and I decided that if I wanted to read one, I’d have to write it myself.”

Photo: Liz Sullivan