I'm almost ten years late to the game with this one, but I just finished Andrew Ross Sorkin's Too Big To Fail and feel compelled to jot down some notes before I forget.Read More
I’m sitting here in an LA coffee shop a block down Cahuenga Blvd from our hotel (The Dream Hollywood, with a dazzling white marble lobby and relentless nightclub thumping until 2am every evening) and I’m in a rapture as I consume interview after interview with the author George Saunders.Read More
Probably ever fiction lover has had a book come along and unscrew their cap right off. Lincoln in the Bardo, a book I finished this week and had zero expectation of falling in love with, has been that for me.Read More
I like to think that the early cavemen who left their handprints on cold cavern walls were doing the same thing a bored middle schooler does when they doodle a penis on their desk in class. They are both, primitively, saying, "I am here."Read More
Pain needs a place to go so it doesn’t lodge in your bones and calcify. It needs to be aired out—through a journal, a pillowed scream, a vent to a $200-an-hour therapist—so it can escape through the vents of your psyche. It needs to be told.
“The heart’s immortal thirst to be completely known and all forgiven.” —H. Van Dyke
I write because of my heart’s immortal thirst, its bottomless thirst. I write because what I’m really trying to do is reach my fingertips out to you and let the most honest part of me find the most honest part of you through a contact deeper than touch.
More and more I think we are each born with one song. It may be a song that deepens and becomes more richly textured over time. It may start small and widen its span to tell a bigger story. It may shapeshift over the decades, weathered—or bolstered—by the passage of time. But it stays one song. Our song, dazzling and inimitable.Read More
I've devoured a few books per week for a few months now, and this hearty intellectual diet has taught me a few things about how to read—specifically, how to read for better writing.
This is my process.Read More
A writer starts out, I think, wanting to be a transfiguring agent, and ends up usually just making contact, contact with other human beings. —Joy Williams
There are some sentences I fall in love with at first glance, ones that burn in my mind forever, echoing with ripples of generosity. This is one of them.Read More
I am writing a book on listening. Why then have I spent the past three or so weeks prostrating at the pages of a book on the natural world, on a creek in Virginia, a sharply defined account of meadows and parasitic moths and frogs and cedars?Read More
Procrastinate endlessly by reading. Research, you call it. Devour piles of books, aspirationally, stunned by the mastery, revving your intellect at full speed on a potent mix of coffee, terror and excitement at what can be done.Read More
Last night I went to bed and before falling asleep asked to be shown how to write the book, what the book would be about, in my dream. Basically, how do I join all these ideas together? What is the core of it, the key to unstucking myself?Read More
What do I know about this work? Curiously much and maddeningly little.
I know that it is made up of fragments. Pulse of feeling, one right after another. You won't open the book and see a wall of black ink engulfing your eyes, a sort of sensory violence.Read More
To allow ourselves to spend afternoons watching dancers rehearse, or sit on a stone wall and watch the sunset, or spend the whole weekend rereading Chekhov stories—to know that we are doing what we're supposed to be doing—is the deepest form of permission in our creative lives.Read More
Of the qualities that define me—certainly of those that characterize my intellect—my reflexivity is perhaps foremost among them. I revel in all that is "meta," secondary, gazing at itself ("navel-gazing," I call it when I'm feeling particularly sardonic).Read More
I have few to no patterns, and even less dogma about how to write, or how I write. Poetry tends to come to me naturally or not at all. I spent years trying out different exercises and forms like most everyone, but the truth is that I don’t do that anymore.Read More
Who turned on the lights? You did, by waking up: You flipped the light switch, started up the wind machine, kicked on the flywheel that spins the years. Can you catch hold of a treetop, or will you fly off the diving planet as she rolls?Read More