The cool parts - the parts that have won Dubai its reputation as 'the Vegas of the Middle East' or 'the Venice of the Middle East' or 'the Disney World of the Middle East, if Disney World were the size of San Francisco and out in a desert' - have been built in the last ten years.
The scariest thought in the world is that someday I'll wake up and realize I've been sleepwalking through my life: underappreciating the people I love, making the same hurtful mistakes over and over, a slave to neuroses, fear, and the habitual.
When I'm explaining something to you, if I'm being long-winded, and twisty in a non-productive way, I could make you feel vaguely insulted. And you'd have a right to be.
Fiction is a kind of compassion-generating machine that saves us from sloth. Is life kind or cruel? Yes, Literature answers. Are people good or bad? You bet, says Literature. But unlike other systems of knowing, Literature declines to eradicate one truth in favor of another.
The best thing that ever happened to me is that nothing happened in writing. I ended up working for engineering companies, and that's where I found my material, in the everyday struggle between capitalism and grace. Being broke and tired, you don't come home your best self.
Developing our sympathetic compassion is not only possible but the only reason for us to be here on earth.
Nostalgia is, 'Hey, remember the other mall that used to be there?'
So I may not have had a gothic childhood, but childhood makes its own gothicity.
The artist's job, I think, is to be a conduit for mystery. To intuit it, and recognize that the story-germ has some inherent mystery in it, and sort of midwife that mystery into the story in such a way that it isn't damaged in the process, and may even get heightened or refined.
When you read a short story, you come out a little more aware and a little more in love with the world around you. What I want is to have the reader come out just 6 percent more awake to the world.
Irony is just honesty with the volume cranked up.
Reading is a form of prayer, a guided meditation that briefly makes us believe we're someone else, disrupting the delusion that we're permanent and at the center of the universe. Suddenly (we're saved!) other people are real again, and we're fond of them.
You don't want to be that parent - the one who dresses his kid in a cloth sack when all the other kids are in Armani cloth sacks - especially in a time like ours, when materialism is not only rampant and ascendant but is fast becoming the only game in town.
When something really bad is going on in a culture, the average guy doesn't see it. He can't. He's average and is surrounded by and immersed in the cant and discourse of the status quo.
The word 'funny' is a bit like the word 'love' - we don't have enough words to describe the many varieties.
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