Ask Ta-Nehisi Coates Anything: Daily Beast Readers Interview The Author
When he answered a question about whether he still plays video games, Coates could have simply replied yes or no. Instead, he had a much more developed response that explained how now that he is older and has more outlets for his creativity, he plays games less—and writes more. He says that if he had more time, he would play more games because the creative energy required to play a game or to write an article are the same and both require one to use their imagination. He also answered several questions relating to class, race, and the intersection of the two—something he speaks on quite frequently in his pieces for The Atlantic, and in his books. In response to a question that asked him how he discusses issues of race and class relations with his son, he says he approaches it in the same way he talks about anything else. "If anything, I find myself having to complicate some of his narratives of justice and how the world works," Coates says. He says that he constantly challenges his son to see things from both sides, "even if [he] completely disagrees with that side."
Coates is currently writing his first novel about an interracial family in pre-Civil War Virginia. He is able to draw from a large body of work to cater his speeches to his audience, and builds connections between all types of people in his talks. He sees the world from both the small-scale, personal angle to the society-wide, big-picture angle—and constantly presents new ways of thinking about our culture and our interactions with each other.