Poetry is what he turns to these days, finding in its fragmentation the proper echo of the disintegrating world.
In the end, fiction is the craft of telling truth through lies.
But my best friend from college was silent for a long time. She, of all of my friends, had seen the parade of sad wrecks through my life, date after bad date after bad boyfriend. She was the one who'd picked up the pieces after the musician, the investment banker, the humanitarian who was human to everyone but me. When at last she spoke, she said, Oh, hell. And, after that: Hallelujah.
Men were not as disciplined or as smart as women, she though: men almost always took what they were offered, their appetites too crude and raw to put up much resistance. There were like children, gobbling down their candy all at once, with no thought about the consequences of their greed.
It's marvelous to know another person's entire literary canon by heart. It's like knowing their secret personal language.
Grief as a low-grade fever. His sadness is a hive at the back of his head: he moves slowly to keep from being stung. Things bunch together, smooth endlessly out.
...she says, Even when you think you can't bear it, you can bear it. He doesn't say anything. Sometimes you have to let time carry you past your troubles, she says. Believe me. I have been where you are.
What had been built to seem so solid was fragile in the face of time because time is impassive, more animal than human. Time would not care if you fell out of it. It would continue on without you. It cannot see you; it has always been blind to the human and the things we do to stave it off, the taxonomies, the cleaning, the arranging, the ordering. Even this cabin with its perfectly considered angles, its veins of pipes and wires, was barely more stable than the rake marks we made in the dust that morning, which time had already scrubbed way.
Then she wants to say that, oh, Christ, of course she knows, the condescension Europeans shower on Americans is not always warranted; she's a novelist, which is tantamount to being a one-woman card catalogue for useless knowledge.
Sometimes I read a biography of some tempestuous artist and find myself longing for fireworks! booze! bloody fights!; I do think that life must be so much more thrilling when you're actively miserable.
I see history as really cyclical in terms of the intense idealism, and the desire to create a better life outside of societal norms.
I see history as really cyclical in terms of the intense idealism and the desire to create a better life outside of societal norms. In America, possibly because of whatever the American dream is, this happens over and over again. These eras repeat.
I feel as if I've been so inured to failure, because I fail more than I succeed. As with any kind of fiction, I throw out so many pages; I get rejected so many times.
If there's a black cat that crosses the street in my path, I will turn around and walk 20 minutes out of my way to not cross it. You know how in New York there's a lot of scaffolding? I won't walk under scaffolding or under ladders. I wear things like a baseball player wears things that are supposed to have luck.
At some point, I picked up an old library copy of 'To The Lighthouse' someone had bought for 25 cents. I began to read and didn't stop until the sun had blistered my back. A mysterious rightness, a beautiful submerged truth had invaded me, one that has ever since seemed slightly beyond my grasp.
I write everything out in longhand in one fast go. And then I throw out the first few and start over again. By the end of the first draft, the whole thing's messy and disgusting and horrible, but you really understand the foundational stuff.
Total intimacy is a myth; that said, a particular kind of loneliness can be both beautiful and fruitful.
But I've married a deeply sensible person who is extremely good at talking me down from my various ledges, and who takes care of me in a billion ways.
While I know some women who are stunningly sanguine when they're pregnant, I dissolve into a total mess. What normally appears sturdy turns fragile: the economy, the climate, humanity's baseline social contract.
Among so many things, 'Time Passes' has shown me subversive ways of portraying time, of looking away from the human to the far more terrifying, far more immense texture of time beneath the minute span of a human life.