It's Tuesday greetings from Austin, Texas, where I am surrounded by some very nice camera equipment and about to talk to Michelle Obama.
You know what?
I'm kind of uncomfortable here.
Let's just go to my basement for a second.
Ah, look, I'm back in my happy place.
So I'm often asked about marriage advice and writing advice to topics I am very reluctant to talk about because I don't feel qualified.
But I loved the way Michelle Obama wrote about marriage in her book Becoming.
And I also loved her approach to memoir in general.
So I thought I would ask her to share some marriage and writing advice with me.
All right, back to Austin.
It's very nice to see you.
I thought the way you wrote about marriage in this book was absolutely astonishing and brilliant, and it really resonated very deeply with me because when my book The Fault In Our Stars, was published, my life became very different.
Not on a like it's becoming president level, but but different.
And so I wonder if you could talk about the challenge of that and and how you found a way to live with it.
Barack and I talk about how valuable it was that we were older and I chose to share so much about our marriage is because I think about young couples and how little we know when we get married about what marriage is.
Nobody is giving us a guidebook on how to do this thing called Building a Life with a whole another person.
Marriage is inherently unequal, not just gender wise.
It's just there's no way that you ever have 50 50 and we talk about it in those terms like Well, you do half and I do have a life isn't that clean?
People think about me and Barack is hashtag relationship goals.
And usually when you have couples like that, all you see is the good stuff.
You see the fist jabs and loving touches in the moments that you know, make people think Oh, aren't they great?
But to me, I felt like if I'm not telling you how hard it waas, I'm not being honest with you about what you need to do to build this thing that right half right and one of the things I really loved about becoming was the resonant details, especially from your childhood that reflected larger parts of your story in second grade, you know, needing an advocate because you were in in his class with a bad teacher who was in way over her hand.
I want to know how you pick those resident details.
Is there a secret?
Well, some of it is, What do you remember?
And for me, there's a reason why I remembered that second grade, why it stuck with me.
Why at this age do I still remember that I didn't get a star for the first time because I didn't know the word white?
It seems like a mundane story, but this is very telling.
It's It's a truth about me that has been consistent since I was four or five years old.
Why did I carry those stories with me all the way to and through the White House?
I don't worry about the stuff I don't remember.
I tried to find the value in what does stand out.
We all remember maybe 10 good stories from our childhood, and they all have meaning.
We just have to value them enough to take time to nurture them and sit with them and understand.
Why did they stick with us?
Yeah, that's super helpful.
And thank you so much.
And it is such a pleasure to meet you and thank you again for your extraordinary book.
Thanks so much.
So we just finished our chat with Mrs Obama and wow, that was supercool.
She was lovely, of course, and very generous with her time and very good at making anxious people feel comfortable.
Which was appreciated because, as you can probably tell, I was extremely anxious.
Hello, Me from the future here.
I've read a lot of political memoirs, and I really did think becoming was extraordinary because it managed to tell a very big story at a very human scale.
Hank, I'm off to think about the way my childhood memories may resonate with my adult self.