A lot of us grow up and we grow out of the literal interpretation that we get when we’re children, but we bear the scars all our life. Whether they’re scars of beauty or scars of ugliness, it’s pretty much in the eye of the beholder.
After the 9/11 apocalypse happened in New York City, people, particularly New Yorkers, who breathed in the ash, or saw the results of that, have a tendency to keep seeing echoes and having flashbacks to it.
Americans are apocalyptic by nature. The reason why is that we’ve always had so much, so we live in deadly fear that people are going to take it away from us.
And as a writer, one of the things that I’ve always been interested in doing is actually invading your comfort space. Because that’s what we’re supposed to do. Get under your skin, and make you react.
And in real life endings aren’t always neat, whether they’re happy endings, or whether they’re sad endings.
And poets, in my view, and I think the view of most people, do speak God’s language – it’s better, it’s finer, it’s language on a higher plane than ordinary people speak in their daily lives.
But I think talent as a writer is hard-wired in, it’s all there, at least the basic elements of it. You can’t change it any more than you can choose whether to be right handed or left handed.
But I think there are a set of experiences that turn a potential writer into a working writer, and then there are places in your life were you start to recognize what you want to do.
Each life makes its own immitation of immortality.
Every book you pick up has its own lesson or lessons, and quite often the bad books have more to teach than the good ones.
Fiction is the truth inside the lie.
French is the language that turns dirt into romance.
Get busy living, or get busy dying.
God is cruel. Sometimes he makes you live.
He had a massive stroke. He died with his tie on. Do you think that could be our generation’s equivalent of that old saying about dying with your boots on?
I am the literary equivalent of a Big Mac and fries.
I can remember being home from school with tonsillitis and writing stories in bed to pass the time.
I don’t want you to apologize for being rich; I want you to acknowledge that in America, we all should have to pay our fair share.
I guess when you turn off the main road, you have to be prepared to see some funny houses.
I had a period where I thought I might not be good enough to publish.
I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts.
I love the movies, and when I go to see a movie that’s been made from one of my books, I know that it isn’t going to be exactly like my novel because a lot of other people have interpreted it. But I also know it has an idea that I’ll like because that idea occurred to me, and I spent a year, or a year and a half of my life working on it.
I never saw any of my dad’s stories. My mother said he had piles and piles of manuscripts.
I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I’ll go for the gross-out. I’m not proud.
I think there ought to be some serious discussion by smart people, really smart people, about whether or not proliferation of things like The Smoking Gun and TMZ and YouTube and the whole celebrity culture is healthy.
I was in enough to get along with people. I was never socially inarticulate. Not a loner. And that saved my life, saved my sanity. That and the writing. But to this day I distrust anybody who thought school was a good time. Anybody.
I watched Titanic when I got back home from the hospital, and cried. I knew that my IQ had been damaged.
I’m not a big fan of psychoanalysis: I think if you have mental problems what you need are good pills. But I do think that if you have thinks that bother you, things that are unresolved, the more that you talk about them, write about them, the less serious they become.
I’m still in love with what I do, with the idea of making things up, so hours when I write always feel like very blessed hours to me.
I’ve always believed in God. I also think that’s the sort of thing that either comes as part of the equipment, the capacity to believe, or at some point in your life, when you’re in a position where you actually need help from a power greater than yourself, you simply make an agreement.
If you don’t have the time to read, you don’t have the time or the tools to write.
If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.
In small towns people scent the wind with noses of uncommon keenness.
It’s a mystery. That’s the first thing that interests me about the idea of God. If there is one, it’s mysterious and powerful and awesome to even consider the concept, and you have to take it seriously.
It’s better to be good than evil, but one achieves goodness at a terrific cost.
Let’s face it. No kid in high school feels as though they fit in.
Life is like a wheel. Sooner or later, it always come around to where you started again.
Like anything else that happens on its own, the act of writing is beyond currency. Money is great stuff to have, but when it comes to the act of creation, the best thing is not to think of money too much. It constipates the whole process.
No, it’s not a very good story – its author was too busy listening to other voices to listen as closely as he should have to the one coming from inside.
Off, Road, Funny
Only enemies speak the truth; friends and lovers lie endlessly, caught in the web of duty.
People think that I must be a very strange person. This is not correct. I have the heart of a small boy. It is in a glass jar on my desk.
People want to know why I do this, why I write such gross stuff. I like to tell them I have the heart of a small boy… and I keep it in a jar on my desk.
Talent in cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work.
That’s something that is almost accidental at the beginning of a career, but the more you write, the more trained you are to recognize the little signals.
The devil’s voice is sweet to hear.
The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of because words diminish your feelings – words shrink things that seem timeless when they are in your head to no more than living size when they are brought out.
The place where you made your stand never mattered. Only that you were there… and still on your feet.
The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool.
This is not a bad life.
We like to think about how smart we are. But I think talent as a writer is hard-wired in, it’s all there, at least the basic elements of it. You can’t change it any more than you can choose whether to be right handed or left handed.
We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.
We’re news junkies in my house.
We’ve switched from a culture that was interested in manufacturing, economics, politics – trying to play a serious part in the world – to a culture that’s really entertainment-based.
Well, I’m like a drug addict, I’m always saying I’m going to stop, and then I don’t, what I’ve said consistently is that I hope I know when to stop: when it starts to get repetitive.
What charitable 1 percenters can’t do is assume responsibility – America’s national responsibilities: the care of its sick and its poor, the education of its young, the repair of its failing infrastructure, the repayment of its staggering war debts.
Whatever came to mind, whatever came to hand, I would read.
When asked, “How do you write?” I invariably answer, “one word at a time.”
When his life was ruined, his family killed, his farm destroyed, Job knelt down on the ground and yelled up to the heavens, “Why god? Why me?” and the thundering voice of God answered, “There’s just something about you that pisses me off.”
Wherever you write is supposed to be a little bit of a refuge, a place where you can get away from the world. The more closed in you are, the more you’re forced back on your own imagination.
You can’t deny laughter; when it comes, it plops down in your favorite chair and stays as long as it wants.
You cannot hope to sweep someone else away by the force of your writing until it has been done to you.
You have to stay faithful to what you’re working on.
You see something, then it clicks with something else, and it will make a story. But you never know when it’s going to happen.