The most important things in our intimate lives can't be discussed with strangers, except in books.
Writers say two things that strike me as nonsense. One is that you must follow an absolute schedule everyday. If you're not writing well, why continue it? I just don't think this grinding away is useful.
In the past, when gays were very flamboyant as drag queens or as leather queens or whatever, that just amused people. And most of the people that come and watch the gay Halloween parade, where all those excesses are on display, those are straight families, and they think it's funny. But what people don't think is so funny is when two middle-aged lawyers who are married to each other move in next door to you and your wife and they have adopted a Korean girl and they want to send her to school with your children and they want to socialize with you and share a drink over the backyard fence. That creeps people out, especially Christians. So, I don't think gay marriage is a conservative issue. I think it's a radical issue.
I can think of no other writer who so thoroughly embodies the Jamesian spirit as Alison Lurie. Like him she can excavate all the possibilities of a theme. Like his, her books seem long, unbroken threads, seamless progressions of effects.
Some writers are so enthralled by ideas (one thinks of Doris Lessing) that their characters become debaters, and their fables approach allegory.
Why did mainstream America come to accept marriage equality? Gay leaders had made a convincing case that gay families were like straight families and should have the same rights. The American spirit of fair play had been invoked.
It's true that Paris is made up of equal parts of social conservatism and anarchic experimentation, but foreigners never quite know where to place the moral accent mark.
'The Sound of Things Falling' may be a page turner, but it's also a deep meditation on fate and death. Even in translation, the superb quality of Vasquez's prose is evident, captured in Anne McLean's idiomatic English version. All the novel's characters are well imagined, original and rounded.
In 'A Boy's Own Story' and 'Jack Holmes and His Friend,' my idea was to take someone totally different from my real self and, at the same time, to assign to him my own life trajectory.
First, I was opposed to gay marriage because it seemed like one more way that gays were wanting to assimilate. When I realized the Christian right was so opposed to it, as well as tyrannical governments in Africa and Russia, I thought, 'It must be a good thing to fight for.'
Originally I was opposed to gay assimilation and targeted gay marriage as just another effort on the part of gays to resemble their straight neighbours.
The great triumph of the Sixties was to dramatize just how arbitrary and constructed the seeming normality of the Fifties had been. We rose up from our maple-wood twin beds and fell onto the great squishy, heated water bed of the Sixties.
In the case of my book, I don't think it's really the coming-out gay novel that everyone really needed, even though it was received as such. The boy is too creepy, he betrays his teacher, the only adult man with whom he's enjoyed a sexual experience, etc.
If bigots oppose gay marriage so vehemently, it must be because marriage is a defining institution for them; gays will never be fully accepted until they can marry and adopt, like anyone else.
When I was a child, I loved 'The Marble Faun' by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The reason I liked it was because it had a beautiful binding. When you're a kid, you like books because they're pretty to look at, and this one had a white calfskin cover and gold edges. That was enough to make me love it.
The one thing that is sort of sneered at and not really believed is bisexuality. Any bisexual man is just seen as a closeted gay man. That shows how narrow-minded people are. The other thing that's totally neglected and which nobody approves of is celibacy. People again assume that you're just repressing something.
In the 1970s in New York, everyone slept till noon. It was a grungy, dangerous, bankrupt city without normal services most of the time. The garbage piled up and stank during long strikes by the sanitation workers. A major blackout led to days and days of looting. The city seemed either frightening or risible to the rest of the nation.
If I had been straight, I would have been an entirely different person. I would never have turned toward writing with a burning desire to confess, to understand, to justify myself in the eyes of others... I wouldn't have been impelled to live in New York and choose the hard poverty of bohemia over the soft comfort of the business world.
Europeans forget that one-third of the American people have had a personal conversation with Jesus Christ and that the born-again are not just little old ladies in black but also CEOs and provosts of universities and candidates for office.
Key West is the place where your sickly house plant back in New York grows to 10 ft. It's also the place where an 8-ft. cactus, the century plant, produces a huge yellow flower every great once in a while, like a robot proffering a bouquet. After the plant flowers, it dies.