I have crashed on a motorcycle that was going at 140mph, so I know what it feels like.
I'm a very interior person. I love silence. I revel in it. I'm happy that way.
I begin a book with imagery, more than I do with an idea or a character. Some kind of poetic image.
I am occasionally enraptured by Western landscape. But I don't identify that state of mind as having to do with my own origins, having grown up in the West, although I certainly crisscrossed Nevada countless times growing up, and then as a young adult, in cars and on motorcycles.
My mother told me many stories about her childhood in Cuba. Living there had a profound impact on her and how she regards herself.
It's really a misconception to identify the writer with the main character, given that the author creates all the characters in the book. In certain ways, I'm every character.
Eventually, I decided that if I was going to really write a novel, I couldn't do it in New York City while holding down a job. You need a constant money source to live in New York City unless you're independently wealthy, which I'm not.
L.A. is a great place to write because you have a lot of space. I have a big office at home, I can leave the doors open. Flowers bloom all year. But it's unglamorous in all the right ways.
When I see things in the world that leap out at me, I want to make use of them in fiction. Maybe every writer does that. It just depends on what you claim or appropriate as yours.
Danzon is my favorite Cuban music, played by a traditional string orchestra with flute and piano. It's very formally structured but romantic music, which derives from the French-Haitian contradance.
One of the strategies for doing first-person is to make the narrator very knowing, so that the reader is with somebody who has a take on everything they observe.
Art is about play and about transcendent meanings, not reducible to politics.
A lot of politics in art is just institutional critique, which, in my opinion, is not all that political.
I am not a sun person at all. I think it's a cancerous poison and I don't want it touching me.
I guess I'm not really fond of just chit-chatting. I want to learn something and have an experience.
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