Neal Pollack is an author, blogger, sometimes-punk-rocker and a full-time parent. His book Alternadad is a humorous memoir chronicling his early days as an offbeat parent. He'll be appearing at the Miami Book Fair this Sunday at 11am. I had a chance to chat with him a few weeks ago for an article in MIAMI. Turns out he's quite the foodie and he was more interested in talking about place to eat in Miami than parenting. Here are some out takes.
You're a busy man, what are some of the things you're working on these days?
Alternadad was optioned by warner bros and it's being adapted to a screenplay. I'm pitching TV pilots. And I'm blogging for Parents.com, epicurious.com and working to build up Offsprung.com.
Would you call yourself a hipster parent?
Not at all. My book is about my attempt to “stay cool” but it's pretty obvious from the get go that I'm not cool and I've never been and that I'm fully aware of that fact. Hipster lifestyles are only possible once you reach a certain age and have a certain income. The whole hipster parenting trend is a very small percentage of New Yorkers. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are hipster parents; I'm just a schmuck who used to go to rock shows.
You started out as a spoken word performer, does that influence your public readings?
Alternadad is not a confrontational comedy but I try to treat is at stand up routine and I do a lot of improvising. I treat my readings as performances. It's my job to be as engaging as possible. I like attention and it's important to me to put on a good show.
How would you describe parenting?
It's improvisation because you never know what is going to come at you next. It's also expensive. But also incredibly exhilarating, satisfying and frustrating. And boring. It can be all those things in one day. Apart from that you have parenting culture which is generally pretty annoying.
How does your family handle being the fodder for your creative output?
My wife Regina knows it pays the bills, she handles it with good humor. She's involved in Offsprung, she's got her own blog on there. Elijah doesn't mind it at all. He takes it in stride. We made a short film together. I'm just writing about our life together He comes across as the plucky hero of my writing, a media-age Huck Finn which is what he is. We don't do home movies but we've got this to look back on.
What have you been reading lately?
In terms of books - Ruth Reichl's Tender At the Bone, a book of Murakami short stories, a Patricia Highsmith novel, and a book about the Peloponesian war by Steven Pressfield. Basically whatever catches my attention. On the internet I'll read the usual liberal blogs like Huffington Post and Daily Kos. I spend a lot of time on epicurious and Chowhound and egullet. Food blogs are the wave right now, it's a fun world to be a part of, there's so much lively writing and lively cultural stuff going on.