Progressive stages of revision eliminate incidence in favor of essence.
If others call you a maniac or a fool, just let them wag their tongues.
I used bravado to protect myself when we lived in poverty.
Man is always beginning everything anew, even in his own life.
Advance planning was never Hank’s strong suit, he had to leave her.
Fiction, no matter how short or long, is the art form of human yearning.
I was writing copy for cheapo furniture for a crummy ad agency.
Identify where you came from, where you are, and where you wish to go.
Art touches the soul and moves life in ways that commerce cannot. E. L. Doctorow noted that writers seem to get business ideas almost right.
The excuse, of course, was that men had to support families.
I should never have the notebook and the pencil in the right pockets.
In other words, beachfronts like Bolaño’s and mine are Nowhere.
My advice is to take advice with a grain of salt.
Abandon the idea that arts and sciences are mutually exclusive.
I worry that I will be kidnapped by my cab driver and driven to an ATM.
Reviewers are curs and their opinions are not to be taken seriously.
You can get anyone to sleep with you—if you want it bad enough.
It is only the failures of love that I regret, those times when I did not give myself so generously.
“Ten lo,” she says when you’ve finished. Have it.
Writing is a subversive activity that exempts you from the rules.
It was the sixties, and I was in
college and incredibly restless.
Our lives are often shaped by small, seemingly trivial choices.
Getting answers is easy. The difficult thing is knowing the right questions.
I wanted from my father what I had never wanted or sought: his advice.
Needless to say, when it was my night to read I was beyond terrified.
To see—and to see properly—is the writer’s central responsibility.
My advice can be succinctly expressed in three words: Persist, persist, persist!
It holds a place in my heart: Never forget the suspenders.