Mar. 30, 2010

The Writer-in-Chief

Obama draft

I love the image of President Obama and his speechwriter Jon Favreau that made the rounds of the web yesterday. Robert Draper had an interesting profile of Obama as writer in GQ. The piece includes this quote from Jerry Kellman, who hired the 24-year-old Obama as a community organizer in Chicago in 1985:

When he came to Chicago, he had two dreams. The one was working for social change. The other was that he would write fiction. His aspiration was to write a novel. We talked about it at great length.

In the same article Scott Turow adds,

This is my gloss, but it does make me wonder what would’ve happened had [then incumbent state senator] Alice Palmer decided not to give up that seat. For even after he was elected and I would talk to him when he was in Springfield, he still had some doubts about whether being an elected official was what he wanted to do. We would talk about books. He would ask me what I was writing. And my gut was that it was more than a sort of generalized yearning — that he’d been thinking for some time since [publishing Dreams from My Father] about what he would like to write, and even if it was no more than making a few notes, he was actively pursuing something. … A writer’s life still beckoned to him.

An enormous, clearly legible version of the photo above is here. (Via James Fallows.)

Categories: Writing    Tags: