Have regrets. They are fuel. On the page they flare into desire.
Have more than one idea on the go at any one time. If it's a choice between writing a book and doing nothing I will always choose the latter. It's only if I have an idea for two books that I choose one rather than the other. I always have to feel that I'm bunking off from something.
Generally, I'm not anti the novel.
It's one of these things that I've been struck by for so long about America. You know, this amazing politeness of American life that's not at all class specific. It's not like people get more polite as ascend the hierarchy of society. Just incredible good manners. It's always been something that I've noticed.
The lesson of travel seems to be so banal, but so great, which is that people are just so amazingly decent the world over. Given the disparity of income and wealth, it's amazing not just that you don't get robbed everywhere - it's amazing you don't get eaten.
While admiring the pleasing evidence of wealth, we become complicit in - or, at the very least, recognize the extent to which we, too, are beneficiaries of - an economic system we routinely deplore.
Writers are not obliged to deal with current events, but it happens that the big story of our times - the al-Qaida attacks on New York and the Pentagon, and the subsequent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - is being told in some of the greatest books of our time.
It would be nice to turn off that incessant churning of consciousness.
For me, those little cinemas in Paris where I saw many art films for the first time meant that cinema became a kind of pilgrimage site.
We are moving beyond the non-fiction novel to different kinds of narrative art, different forms of cognition. Loaded with moral and political point, narrative has been recalibrated to record, honour, and protest the latest historically specific instance of futility and mess.
Inevitably, most readers come to John Cheever's 'Journals' via his fiction. Whatever value they might have in their own right, their viability as a publishing proposition was conditional on the interest of the large readership of his novels and stories.
In terms of behaving in a civic way, I feel my behavior is always exemplary.
The series 'Generation Kill' is, along with everything else, a sustained critique of the structural and conventional fictions of 'The Hurt Locker.'
Once you've published a few books, you drag around this ball and chain of a back list. All the evidence of how few you've sold is there. I think a lot of writers my age have this strange experience of going from would-be to has-been.
I am still moved by passages of Marx: the 'Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right,' for example, where, after the famous line about religion being 'the opium of the people,' he goes on to call it 'the heart of a heartless world.'
My Tarkovsky idolatry was at its peak, but 'Nostalghia' really didn't do anything for me. 'The Sacrifice' was similarly disappointing for me. Next thing we knew, he was dead.
There is a thematic continuity here within Bigelow's work: 'The Hurt Locker' serves up a military equivalent of the thrill-trips that Lenny Nero was hustling in her earlier 'Strange Days.'
I have this long-running idea that the distinction between fiction and nonfiction is not just, 'Did it happen or didn't it happen?' It's one of form.
I'm never happier when writing than when I see gags taking shape - ideally, gags at my own expense. What I like is the shuttling back and forth, serious into comedy and vice-versa, ideally, both in the same sentence, or even simultaneously. The best jokes are always ideas in miniature.
Contrary to popular belief, Oxford has the highest concentration of dull-witted, stupid, narrow-minded people anywhere in the British Isles.