Good poets borrow; great poets steal.

The N.C.A.A. is a multibillion-dollar business built on the talents of players who are often unqualified for or uninterested in being students and who benefit materially from the system only if they are among the few who turn professional.

Are black people conscious of how excruciatingly self-conscious white people have become in their every interaction with black people? Is this self-consciousness an improvement? Maybe not, because I'm thinking of people in categories rather than as people, which is a famously dangerous thing to do.

Sports passion is deeply, infamously territorial: our city-state is better than your city-state because our city-state's team beat your city-state's team. My attachment to the Sonics is approximately the reverse of this.

Your basic, well-made novel by Ian McEwan or Jonathan Franzen just bores me silly.

From the first slave ship arriving in harbor, America stole and judged blacks. Black life that didn't fit into white logic was commercially exploited or lynched.

Immanence, or complicity, allows the writer to be a kind of shock absorber of the culture: to reflect back its 'whatness,' refracted through the sensibility of his consciousness.

It's true of so many fiction writers that I much prefer the essayistic work they did, whether it's David Foster Wallace's, or John Cheever's, or Nathaniel Hawthorne's.

I think there are people who are born storytellers. I think of someone like T. C. Boyle or Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I think really, without putting any pejorative on it, they're like carnival barkers, 'Come into the tent, and I'll tell you this story.'

Our lives aren't prepackaged along narrative lines and, therefore, by its very nature, reality-based art - underprocessed, underproduced - splinters and explodes.

In music, they're not endlessly rewriting Beethoven's 'Third Symphony;' in visual art, they aren't painting portraits of 16th-century royalty. Art moves forward.

Honesty is the best policy; the only way out is deeper in: a candid confrontation with existence is dizzying, liberating.

Considering the relatively brief careers of professional athletes, teenagers who are good enough to play at the highest level should be able to exploit that market.

A sports writer is a stylist of some kind. He is trying to convey mood and character and emotion.

We judge athletes as if we all don't have trouble performing our various duties from time to time.

I do not think it feasible to examine the phenomenon of hatefulness without being hateful.

You could easily do a book of Marshawn Lynch's quotes, which have a quite serious political pushback. I think he's really amazing.

In my twenties and early thirties, I wrote three novels, but beginning in my late thirties, I wearied of the mechanics of fiction writing, got interested in collage nonfiction, and have been writing literary collage ever since.

Our culture is obsessed with real events because we experience hardly any.

We're all Vanilla Ice. Look at Girl Talk and Danger Mouse. Look at William Burroughs, whose cut-up books antedate hip hop sampling by decades. Shakespeare remixed passages of Holinshed's 'Chronicles' in 'Henry VI.' Tchaikovsky's '1812 Overture' embeds the French national anthem.

I want the reader to join me on an intellectual and emotional journey into some major aspect of existence.

We've been appropriating in art since Duchamp, and we've been appropriating in music since the first person was banging on drums.

Sports - especially the NBA - function as a place where American society pretends to discuss and pretends to solve questions and historical agonies that can't possibly be solved within the realm of sports.

All human beings have bodies. All bodies are mortal. Yours, too, is one of these bodies.

I like art with a visible string to the world.

Seattle is still more Caucasian than most medium-sized cities. The sort of psychosexual politics of white fandom in context of black athletes who are also both very rich and slightly angry is just, to me, bottomlessly fascinating.

The individual has now risen to the level of a mini-government or mini-corporation. Via YouTube and Twitter, each of us is our own mini-network.

You don't think anyone who lives an ordinary life has plenty of trouble and torment to write about?

The difference between kitties and humans is that we are aware of our mortal condition, and the burden of consciousness is to evoke and embody and explore the coordinates of our condition.

That's why people read books. You get to have the real conversation, as opposed to the pseudo-conversations we have in everyday life.

I have a teaching job that allows me to pay the rent and affords me to, frankly, write the books I want to write.

I'm really drawn toward work that is trying to capture what it's like to think now and to live now.

So many of the things I talk about in 'Reality Hunger' seem to be the things that 'The Thing About Life' does - things like risk, contradiction, compression, mixing modes of attack from the memoristic gesture to data-crunching.

The American writer has his hands full, trying to understand and then describe and then make credible much of American reality.

I couldn't tell a story if my life depended on it. I'm the world's worst joke-teller.

The real impulse of most books is to tell a story to keep the reader lashed to the page. I don't get why that's a proper use of an adult's time.

The movie - any sports movie - becomes a praise song to life here on earth, to physical existence itself, beyond striving, beyond economic necessity.

The reigning mythology of the Northwest is obviously nature, and the reigning mythology of the Northeast corridor is culture.

The 'Times' is understood to be almost the unofficial biographer of the country, in some strange way to be printing a kind of quasi-neutral truth or even, in some people's minds, slightly center-left version of reality.

Art, like science, progresses, and to me it's bizarre that a lot of acclaimed and popular and respectable books are not advancing the art form.

I suspect the real reason the N.F.L. and N.B.A. don't want high schoolers and college underclassmen to play with their ball is that they don't want to jeopardize their relationship with National Collegiate Athletic Association, which serves as a sort of free minor league and unpaid promotional department for the pros.

We hunger for connection to a larger community.

I disagree with everything John Updike has ever said.

I'm a sucker for sports movies.

I like having a paperback original. And until literature catches up with the culture - the violence, language, syntax, compression, concision, complexity and diversity that the Internet offers - books still make sense.

I believe in copyright, within limited precincts. But I also believe in fair use, public domain, and especially transformation.

A book makes claims of literary art.

Basically, I really love work that puts the reader into a kind of vertigo, into a real doubt, and a beautiful way to convey that, a really perfect metaphor for that, is to make the reader also experience doubt.

Aging followed by death is the price we pay for the immortality of our genes. You find this information soul-killing; I find it thrilling, liberating.