I always had a sense that I would fall in love with Tokyo. In retrospect I guess it's not that surprising. I was of the generation that had grown up in the '80s when Japan was ascendant (born aloft by a bubble whose burst crippled its economy for decades), and I'd fed on a steady diet of anime and samurai films.
When I think about my own relationships to the women that I really loved, it feels like that love, even after we've broken up and we're no longer speaking, that love never goes away. No one told me that.
A young person, or someone who's writing in a different way - in some ways you could say, eventually someone will find them. Eventually someone will hear them. But it's good a lot of young people persevere. Because sometimes you have to send something out a thousand times before anyone recognizes your value.
I don't think I could have tackled 'The Pura Principle' until now. It takes me about twenty years to come to term with any difficult period in my life, to get enough of a grasp on it to fictionalize it.
Artists are not cheerleaders, and we're not the heads of tourism boards. We expose and discuss what is problematic, what is contradictory, what is hurtful and what is silenced in the culture we're in.
My thing is every generation of Americans has to answer what we call the 'Superman Question.' Superman comes, lands in America. He's illegal. He's one of these kids. He's wrapped up in a red bullfighter's cape. And you've got to decide what we're gonna do with Superman.
Love is understood, in a historical way, as one of the great human vocations - but its counterspell has always been infidelity. This terrible, terrible betrayal that can tear apart not only another person, not only oneself, but whole families.
I write incredibly slowly. And, on top of that, I spent my entire youth and twenties working like a dog, so one of the things that happened when I finished 'Drown' was that I got busy living. I'd never travelled, I'd never seen anything. So I did as much travelling as my job teaching would allow.
Students teach all sorts of things but most importantly they make explicit the courage that it takes to be a learner, the courage it takes to open yourself to the transformative power of real learning and that courage I am exposed to almost every day at MIT and that I'm deeply grateful for.
There are a couple of strategies for writing about an absence or writing about a loss. One can create the person that was lost, develop the character of the fiancee. There's another strategy that one can employ, maybe riskier... Make the reader suffer the loss of the character in a more literal way.
The one thing about being a dude and writing from a female perspective is that the baseline is, you suck. The baseline is it takes so long for you to work those atrophied muscles - for you to get on parity with what women's representations of men are.
Cities produce love and yet feel none. A strange thing when you think about it, but perhaps fitting. Cities need that love more than most of us care to imagine. Cities, after all, for all their massiveness, all their there-ness, are acutely vulnerable.
In fact, looking at the darkest sides of the United States has only made me appreciate the things that we do right, the things that we do beautifully. We are, for all of our mistakes and all of our crimes, a remarkable place.
My thing is, I'm just way too harsh. It's an enormous impediment, and that's just the truth of it. It doesn't make me any better, make me any worse, it certainly isn't more valorous. I have a character defect, man.
It wasn't that I couldn't write. I wrote every day. I actually worked really hard at writing. At my desk by 7 A.M., would work a full eight and more. Scribbled at the dinner table, in bed, on the toilet, on the No. 6 train, at Shea Stadium. I did everything I could. But none of it worked.
In the end, all worlds, whether they're set in the future or in New Jersey of today, are fictions. Sure, you don't got to do too much work to build a mundane world, but don't get it twisted: you still got to do some work.
We have a whole bunch of young people and a whole bunch of families. Are we going to disrupt these families and tear them apart? Or are we going think, like, listen - these people are here. We've got to deal with this reality. We've got to extend the franchise.