Behind the Scenes: Daniel José Older in Conversation with Cheryl Klein


"Besides being a paramedic, a lot of what I bring to the table as a writer is my work as an organizer. As an organizer, one of the principles that we work with is the idea of history being present and walking with us always. And certainly in Brooklyn, you know, when you walk around history is with you at all times, whether it is with the actual memorial murals themselves, or you walk down one street named after a slave owner and another named after an abolitionist and then you’ll turn a corner and you’ll be on Malcolm X Boulevard. All of these layers are constantly there. Meanwhile gentrification is happening, police brutality is happening. It’s a crossroads. To me, ghost stories are always a way to deal with this concept of history being alive. And when I focused in on that with Shadowshaper, specifically, it was also this idea [about] the power of art to make that true."