I like birthday cake. It's so symbolic. It's a tempting symbol to load with something more complicated than just 'Happy birthday!' because it's this emblem of childhood and a happy day.
I write on a very strict 2-hour-a-day schedule, and I really respond to structure and invented rules. So even if I'm finding out good information on a character, I will stop when I'm set to stop.
When language is treated beautifully and interestingly, it can feel good for the body: It's nourishing; it's rejuvenating.
As a kid, I often figured it was good to be patient to a fault.
I really like feeling connected to people and feeling like I have a good, solid sense of empathy.
There's a spectrum of those moments of connection and the moments we fail to connect, going from super-large successes to failures. Success would be love, I guess, and failure could still be love, but the bad side; and loss.
In terms of foods for me, I think I have more of the usual associations - foods from childhood that I associate with care and love, from relatives or special restaurants like the kind elderly man who dusted seasoning salt on French fries at the corner burger joint.
As a kid, I liked making up stories, and I wrote a story about a kangaroo and a bat with Christy Chang, and she went on to become a surgeon.
I'm obsessed with adolescence. I love to write about people in their 20s. It's such a fraught and exciting and kind of horrible time.
I like the idea of a place that is dealing with painful, messy, frightening, and very human events that is also so beautiful and ethereal.
I liked Hans Christian Andersen because the tales were so dark and tragic.
I love the idea of numerology, but I don't really believe in it. But I like thinking about what numbers convey.
Writing can be a frightening, distressing business, and whatever kind of structure or buffer is available can help a lot.
Generally, I think most of my writing tends to have some kind of magical element to it. That's the way I can access the emotional life of the character.
I find I can write for two lines, and then I have nothing else to say. For me, the only way to find something comes through the sentence level and sticking with the sentences that give a subtle feeling that there's something more to say.
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