“I Wasn’t Born With a Beard”
The Vol. 1 Brooklyn founder talks shop with Freerange’s Mira Ptacin
Jason Diamond is tall, sturdy man with a brown waterfall of a beard and a commendable taste for good quality. He’s an idea man and a doer. He reads a lot, writes a lot, creates, helps, washes, rinses, repeats. He’s a gamechanger: the founder of Vol. 1 Brooklyn, current New York Deputy Editor of Flavorpill, and the former editor of Jewcy.com. Selflessly, Jason does a lot for other writers and the literary community of New York, so I wanted to shift the spotlight onto him for one hot minute. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you a glimpse into the brain of one class act we call Jason Diamond:
Mira Ptacin: Tell me, how did you end up in New York? What was your plan? When did you get here, and how did things evolve into what you do now?
Jason Diamond:I graduated college and decided to move down to my father’s house in Boca Raton. Boca is one of the last places when you’re 22 and totally clueless, so I decided New York was the sort of place where you either figure out what you wanted to do or you became some crazy person who feeds the pigeons all day while mumbling incoherently. As for evolving, I think it was all part of growing up. I’ve always loved writing, and I’ve always loved bringing people together, so I started doing both more. I started writing as much as I could and also started setting up events. I just figured I’d do things that made me happy, and people responded well. Currently I’m the founding editor of Vol. 1, the deputy editor of Flavorpill, I blog at eMusic, and write for a bunch of other places I really like.
MP: How do you stay on top of things? What’s your routine?
JD: I learned this routine from my grandfather: wake up really early after a lack of sleep, make coffee, cut a grapefruit in half, stare out the window for an unspecified amount of time while sipping the coffee, read the news, take a walk, come back and get to work. Once I get that stuff out of the way, I’m a total nut job doing 10,000 other things. I’m not sure how I stay on top of things. I like to think that it has something to do with my A.D.D. since I always feel the need to keep jumping around to look and read new things. I’m also blessed because I’m a fast reader, although nowhere as fast as Vol. 1′s Tobias Carroll. The man is a freak of nature!
MP:What’s the lowest point of your time in New York? And the highest?
JD: I don’t think I’ve ever had a truly low point. Things have gotten rough with break ups, shitty jobs, bad apartments, and all that jazz. It’s all part of living in New York. I wouldn’t trade any of it. The highest was meeting my wife. I think there’s something special and beautiful about the fact that I will always remember the street I walked down the first time we had drinks together, her standing in a certain spot, and the second I knew. If there were any low moments, that erased all of them.
MP: What are the most rewarding parts of being a literary “fairy godfather”? (<–forgive me for the lack of a better term.)
JD: It’s rewarding to know and work with writers I deeply admire. It’s amazing to watch careers grow and be able to help that growth. I like to think I’m doing positive things.
MP: I’m interested in your writing. I’ve heard you’re working on a book–nonfiction, is it? Tell me about it.
JD: I am. I’m finishing up the first draft as we speak. I guess I’ll be able to say more when somebody tells me they want to buy it..
MP:What lies ahead, both short and long term?
JD: There seems to be a Vol. 1 event almost every night. We’re trying to expand so we’re working on the first episode of our podcast and looking for new writers. We’re hosting the first of hopefully many events called “The Mingle” on May 30th at Lolita Bar. I think it’s important for people to actually talk in person and not just on Twitter.
MP: What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?
JD: I played hockey and was in the thespian club in high school. People are always weirded out by that. Also: I wasn’t born with a beard.