In many of my plays, there was a kind of autobiographical character in the form of a son or young man.
I basically live out of my truck - I mean from place to place. I feel more at home in my truck than just about anywhere, which is a sad thing to say, but it's true.
I always thought the desert was the antithesis of peace - something that attacks you. So you don't go to the desert for peace.
Democracy's a very fragile thing. You have to take care of democracy. As soon as you stop being responsible to it and allow it to turn into scare tactics, it's no longer democracy, is it? It's something else. It may be an inch away from totalitarianism.
I feel like I've never had a home, you know? I feel related to the country, to this country, and yet I don't know exactly where I fit in... There's always this kind of nostalgia for a place, a place where you can reckon with yourself.
Film acting is really the trick of doing moments. You rarely do a take that lasts more than 20 seconds. You really earn your spurs acting onstage. I needed to do that for myself. I would hate to say at the end of everything that I never did a stage play.
I never thought about having a daughter, and then I had a daughter, and it was a remarkable thing. It was very different from having a son and your response to it. With a son, it's much more complex. And it's probably because of my stuff in the past. With a daughter, I was surprised at how simple it is.
I got to New York when I was eighteen. I was knocking around, trying to be an actor, writer, musician, whatever happened.
I see a lot of scripts, and very few of them leap off the page at you.
When I first started, I didn't really know how to structure a play.
I'm not denying that it's exciting to have a play on Broadway.
I've been so spoiled in the theater, writing plays where I can just do exactly what I want and nobody messes with me.
You can't make a living as a playwright. You can barely scrape by.
I don't believe in a lot of schmoozing and buttering up. Not that you don't become friends in work. But I think it's a misconception that you have to do a lot of hanging before you work.
All of the great writers whom I admire have died. I guess the most recent one would be Marquez.
I feel like I'm a natural-born playwright, but the prose thing has always mystified me. How to keep it going? How do people do it, for years and years?
I still find it hard to believe that the whole era of jazz is over.
I'm a great believer in chaos. I don't believe that you start with a formula and then you fulfill the formula. Chaos is a much better instigator, because we live in chaos - we don't live in a rigorous form.
I'm extremely grateful that I found writing, but it doesn't make it any more peaceful.
When you're 19 and writing plays, you think every actor is full of it. They just can't handle your brilliant material.
I think comedy's harder to pull off on the screen than on the stage, anyway. Tragedy is easier on the screen... oddly enough.
I don't get offered leading parts. I suppose I've become a kind of character actor or sideman. I think it had to do with probably in the '90s, I refused so many leading roles that they gave up on me, or I just became unpopular, or I became old. All those reasons.
I know, as an actor, you have to negotiate, but I can't handle the whole idea that art and commerce are synonymous. It drives me nuts.
I remember, as a kid, going into other people's houses. Everything was different. The smells in the kitchen were different; the clothing was different. That bothered me. There's something very mysterious about other families and the way they function.
People are starved for a way of life - they're hunting for a way to be or to act toward the world.
My old man tried to force on me a notion of what it was to be a 'man.' And it destroyed my dad.
It's very difficult to escape your background. You know, I don't think it's necessary to even try to escape it. More and more, I start to think that it's necessary to see exactly what it is that you inherited on both ends of the stick: your timidity, your courage, your self-deceit, and your honesty - and all the rest of it.
My son, Walker, has a band called The Dust Busters. You know, he plays banjo, fiddle, guitar, and mandolin, so a lot of my interest in that kind of music comes from him constantly listening to this stuff. He's taught me the history of it. It's remarkable how these young kids are now turned on to more traditional old-time music.
What I'm after is something different than supplying people with the idea that I'm writing an important play.
If you start trying to figure out yourself from the image everyone has of you, you run into a dead end.
I'm not put off so much by first-time directors if the script is great. If the script isn't there, I'm not there.
Writing for theatre is certainly different to writing an essay or any other kind of fiction or prose: it's physical. You're also telling a story, but sometimes the story isn't exactly what you intend; maybe you uncover something you had no idea you were going to uncover.
I'm a writer. The more I act, the more resistance I have to it. If you accept work in a movie, you accept to be entrapped for a certain part of time, but you know you're getting out. I'm also earning enough to keep my horses, buying some time to write.
I guess what I like is mostly country & western or else stuff that has a real blues feel to it.
I keep my horses out in the open, but when I was working the ranches, I had to clean the stalls. It was a horrible job.
When you listen intensely to anything, you see how it can be improved.
When I was a kid, we didn't have a TV until the late '50s, but I can remember watching Hopalong Cassidy, Roy Rogers, Steve McQueen, and 'Gunsmoke.'
I think Bolano had a generosity about him that was unique. He seemed to include so many people in the circle of his adventures, whereas I felt like I was pretty selfish.
There is this aura that the three-act play is the important one: it's the one that you do to win the Pulitzer. Some part of you falls for that, and then after a while, you don't fall for that.
I had two experiences with very close friends of mine who experienced aphasia, the loss of language. It shocked me.
After the falling out with my father, I worked on a couple of ranches - thoroughbred layup farms, actually - out toward Chino, California. That was fine for a little while, but I wanted to get out completely, and twenty miles away wasn't far enough.
I didn't go out of my way to get into this movie stuff. I think of myself as a writer.