Nightclubs are the equivalent of a Catholic Church in a poor country. You hear a lot of stuff about churches filled with gold while the people are starving. But what elitists don't get is that for poor people, the church is their own mansion. Nightclubs fill the same function.
People in their forties, fifties, and onward enjoy the whole world of books in a different way than the Internet-age kids do.
Latins are predisposed to thinking about the past. Catholicism has a lot to do with it because Catholicism is a contemplation of the past, of symbols that are supposed to be eternally present.
I enjoy listening to contemporary rock on the college stations while I'm taking long walks, love gospel and soul music, am fascinated by hip-hop and rap as the new kind of urban 'beat' poetry and, come to think of it, find something interesting about just any kind of music.
As a kid I had all kinds of questions about how I fit it with my neighborhood and friends and other Latinos.
I have never - I have never let go of my childhood contacts. My best friends from childhood are still my best friends.
Music infuses your spirit with a certain energy that I try to convey in my work.
I teach at Duke, and I have students who are all of twenty who want to write memoirs, and you know it's all pretty interesting stuff, but a lot of them lack gravitas, you know.
It's true that immigrant novels have to do with people going from one country to another, but there isn't a single novel that doesn't travel from one place to another, emotionally or locally.
When you write fiction, you can sort of invent more but also pack it with emotions that are very pertinent to you. Whereas with nonfiction, you have to be as factual as possible but also hopefully - also bring... emotional relevance to the piece.
I like to encourage young talented writers to try and help them get published and so forth, but that's all. That's the best I can do.
Of course, I grew up hearing Latin music but, to be honest, aside from my personal circumstances, like most kids I wanted to rebel against what I considered to be such old fashioned fare.
If you start believing all that press about you, you're in trouble. I don't even read my reviews.
When you're writing a novel - at least the way I write is I work from what I would call 'emotional atmosphere,' ambiance to ambiance.
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