I was in my senior year of high school when I read 'Notes From Underground' by Dostoyevsky, and it was an exhilarating discovery. I hadn't known up until that moment that fiction could be like that. Fiction could say these things, could be unseemly, could be unsettling and distressing in that particular way, that immediate and urgent way.
Writing with kids is an adventure. It seems like someone always has the flu or pink-eye. I mean, you don't even have to be in direct contact with anyone to get pink-eye. But for parents who write, flexibility becomes essential, and as long as I have a pad of paper and a pen, I can write anywhere. Starbucks is fine.
I feel that I have an impractical and deleterious snobbery about the relation of literature to the market. I thought, 'I've become the kind of crap you buy at airports!' It was exciting, but it was not a fantasy I'd ever had.
Years ago, I worked in a newspaper office, and there were men that would have fits of temper, and it was just accepted that that's who they were, and everyone would laugh about it, but if a woman got upset or angry, something wasn't right: she was 'hysterical' or 'a little unhinged.' It didn't have the same sort of connotation at all.
Obstruction can be caused by so many factors - perfectionism, distraction, faltering confidence, external demands and pressures. At some point, of course, you've got to push through it all if you're to write, and if you don't, or can't, you're sunk.
If you live in a family or have five roommates, there's some sort of reality check, but when you live alone, there's a lot more leeway for your fantasy life to be more and more a part of your everyday life.
For those of us whose thoughts digress; for whom unexpected juxtapositions are exhilarating rather than tiresome; who aim, if always inadequately, to convey life's experience in some semblance of its complexity - for such writers, the semi-colon is invaluable.
If people like something you've done - or don't like it - this shouldn't determine what you write or how you write it. Those are two separate things entirely: your work and the world's response to it.
Things we write down are the fragments shored against our ruins. They outlast us, these scraps of words on paper. Like the detritus from the tsunami washing up on the other side of the ocean, writing is what can be salvaged.
I remember going to a son's friend's bar mitzvah, and the text that he chose to explicate was right at the beginning of Genesis. It was not about a fall from grace or a fall from perfection; it was about an awakening into consciousness, which is what it means to be human.