It took me a long time to be able to write for the 'New Yorker,' and for me, that has been the best job. I live a very conventional life, but reporting for the magazine has allowed me to do things I would never otherwise do, such as investigating a criminal conspiracy in Guatemala or trekking through the Amazon looking for a lost city.
The giant squid is the perfect embodiment of a sea monster: it is huge, it has tentacles, it has big eyes, and it is absolutely frightening-looking. But, most important, it is real. Unlike the Loch Ness monster, we know it's out there.
After a traumatic event, people tend to store a series of memories and arrange them into a meaningful narrative. They remember exactly where they were and to whom they were talking.
The outlaw, in the American imagination, is a subject of romance - a 'good' bad man, he is typically a master of escape, a crack shot, a ladies' man.
My mother doesn't need much sleep. At any hour of the night, you'd wake up, and she'd be reading. She'd read five, six books a week. When we went on sailing trips, she'd bring a suitcaseful for the week. Even then, her office would have to send more.
Although baseball actually began as a game played largely by urban toughs, its image was soon reconstructed to mirror the country's pastoral myth.
I grew up around writers, and there was always a romance to them. They were charming. They would tell their stories of what they were working on, over the table.
We are a country of laws. When you take that away, the consequences are enormous.
The amazing thing about the sea is that it is perhaps the last truly unexplored frontier; most oceanographers estimate that only about ninety-five per cent of the sea has been studied. Meanwhile, the oceans are believed to contain more animals than exist on land, a majority of which have never been discovered.
I never want to make people upset, but sometimes we may. When I interview people, I try to make it clear that our obligation is to what we uncover and to telling that story and to presenting it fairly and making sure everyone has a say.
If someone told me I had to stop writing stories, that would be the end of me.
My night stand is more like a geological structure: a bunch of books piled on the floor with its own strata.
A lot of the stories I write about have an element of mystery. They're crime stories or conspiracy stories or quests. They do have built into them revelations and twists. But the revelations, to me, come from seeing history as it's unfolding, or life as it's unfolding.
I had many different careers early on. I knew I wanted to be a writer. But, like so many people, I didn't know how to be one - other than just do it. I didn't know what form it would take.
I don't want to just traffic in sensationalism or in mere blood.
You think of the rainforest as this incredibly abundant place of fauna and animals and flora. This great, rich wilderness. And yet it is such a biological battlefield in which everything is competing.
I guess if I had to pick one interest that is unique, it would be giant squids - I'm disturbingly fascinated by them and even wrote a story about the hunt for them.
Because many squid have brain nerve fibres that are hundreds of times thicker than those of humans, neuroscientists have long used them for research. These nerve fibres have led to so many breakthroughs in the study of neurons that many scientists joke that the squid should receive a Nobel Prize.
There are some incredibly gifted writers in the world. You can count them on a hand. They're blessed, and they've worked at their craft, but there's very few.
Because I read so much nonfiction for work, I enjoy fiction most, especially detective novels and mysteries that keep me awake at night.
The romantic notion of the clubhouse as a traveling fraternity of working-class heroes - the boys of summer - is perhaps the most potent in all of baseball.
It's funny: I don't know if she babysat, but I spent time with Judy Blume when I was little.
I covered Congress, and everyone always wanted me to be a political reporter.
We all mythologize to some degree ourselves and probably embellish. I think some of that is the desire to tell stories.
One of the nice things about 'The New Yorker' is they let you write stories that sometimes end up almost half a book.
Heroes have always served as a reflection of their times, a template of who we are and what we want to be.
I've always been a big believer that you can use the elements of storytelling to bring the reader along and to hopefully illuminate a lot of the important things. It's a challenge, but it's something I kind of believe in.
You want the story to be about something, have some deeper meaning, but there is also an emotional, almost instinctual, element, which is, does this story seize some part of you and compel you to get to the bottom of it?
The biggest difference with Twitter and writing long form is you're part of a virtual community where you know people, or think you know them, through their links.
For a while, when I got out of college, I tried to write fiction. I'd grown up more around novelists, and my initial attraction was to write fiction. But I was much less suited for it. I always struggled to figure out what people were saying or doing in a particular moment.
One of my favorite authors to read is Eric Ambler, who helped pioneer the form of realistic suspense novels.
The only thing as murky as a conspiracy is what's happening in Hollywood.
There are certain stories that remind you of the moral purpose that originally drew you to become a reporter.
If I can find the right idea, I can get out of the way and do a good story.
Honestly, I had no idea what to do on Twitter when I started. I didn't follow it enough. Slowly, though, I started to realize what I'm okay at. Like, I'm just not particularly witty.
The way we live history is not the way historians tell history. Our lives are messy and chaotic and bewildering.
I often say that the best way to find a story is a one-inch brief in a local newspaper.
There's a tendency when we write history to do it with the power of hindsight and then assume almost god-like knowledge that nobody living through history has.
I don't hunt, I don't camp, and I get lost on my subway to work here in Times Square!
Baseball, of course, has long been played under the burden of metaphor. More so than basketball or football, it is supposed to represent something larger than itself.
I often feel that with a crime story, the moral standards have to be higher. You're deal with real victims and with real consequences.
I wish a book could reach as many people as film, but we have to be realistic about it.
It was a very circuitous path. It was not very linear - I floundered about for many years.
Like many people, I kicked around, struggled to become a writer, finally got my first full-time job around 27, 28, at 'The Hill' newspaper. They hired me as a copy editor, which was kind of funny because I'm semi-blind because I have an eye disorder.