I think that if people are instructed about anything, it should be about the nature of cruelty. And about why people behave so cruelly to each other. And what kind of satisfactions they derive from it. And why there is always a cost, and a price to be paid.
If my career continues along its current arc, people will probably look at me and see a writer who is obsessed with the relationship between rich and poor and with how the rich somehow or other always manage to betray the poor, even when they don't mean to.
Even at its most perceptive, sociology deals in abstractions.
I think a lot of what is going on with kids who get pushed too far and attempt either murder or suicide is that they are trying to deal with their own non-existence for the people who are supposed to care most for them.
HBO is really famous for hiring good people and staying out of their way until they ask for help, or need it. And that reputation is earned.
Not everyone writes well from a child's point of view.
I don't think there's a shortage of material in the world. Or in my head. I just pray for continued good health, because I've got other stories to tell.
I have to have a character worth caring about. I tend not to start writing books about people I don't have a lot of sympathy for because I'm just going to be with them too long.
A couple years ago, the novelist Russell Banks told me he was reading the ancient Greek historian Herodotus. I asked why. He said, 'Because I've always wanted to and am tired of having my reading assigned.' I thought it was a marvelous declaration of independence.
I never worry about people not taking my work seriously as a result of the humor. In the end, the comic's best trick is the illusion that comedy is effortless. That people imagine what he's doing is easy is an occupational hazard.
I was pretty dead set against ever writing an academic novel. It's always been my view that there are already more than enough academic novels and that most of them aren't any good. Most of them are self-conscious and bitter, the work of people who want to settle grudges.
America has always been a nation of small places, and as we lose them, we're losing part of ourselves.
People in small towns, much more than in cities, share a destiny.
I looked back at some of my earlier published stories with genuine horror and remorse. I got thinking, How many extant copies might there be, who owns them, and do they keep their doors locked?
At the risk of appearing disingenuous, I don't really think of myself as 'writing humor.' I'm simply reporting on the world I observe, which is frequently hilarious.
For un-subscribe please check the mail footer.