Two or three things I know for sure, and one is that I'd rather go naked than wear the coat the world has made for me.
I was born in 1949, and by the time I was 10, I figured out that my hope chest was not aimed in the same direction everybody else's was. And that life was going to be very, very complicated. And that I could either be provocative and declamatory, or shy, retiring and scared.
It's important to set challenges that you're not sure you're equal to.
Class, race, sexuality, gender and all other categories by which we categorize and dismiss each other need to be excavated from the inside.
It's fun to tease people about where fiction and life intersect.
Change, when it comes, cracks everything open.
Teenagers are free verse walking around on two legs.
Gravy is the simplest, tastiest, most memory-laden dish I know how to make: a little flour, salt and pepper, crispy bits of whatever meat anchored the meal, a couple of cups of water or milk and slow stirring to break up lumps.
I think I would have died if there hadn't been the women's movement. It gave me a vision that I could do something different, and it gave me an understanding that I wasn't a monster, or sport, or a betrayer of my family.
I think it's wonderful that people in pickup trucks are buying two flats of dog food and a copy of 'Bastard.' I want my view of the world to be right up there next to gallon boxes of Tide.
My son, Wolf, was born when I was past 40 and the author of a best-selling novel. That means he has grown up a middle-class child - one who sometimes asks me for stories of my childhood but knows nothing of what it means to grow up poor and afraid. I have worked to make sure of that.
Fiction is a piece of truth that turns lies to meaning.
I'm still very blunt: If you want to be a writer, get a day job. The fact that I have actually been able to make a living at it is astonishing.
I tell my students you have an absolute right to write about people you know and love. You do. But the kicker is you have a responsibility to make the characters large enough that you will not have sinned against them.
Watch out, or I'm liable to put you in a story.
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