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" A small, seemingly inconsequential event can determine a life. "
" Pinkville was called Pinkville because in the military maps, it was shaded a bright kind of shimmering pink, which signified what was called on the maps a 'built up' area, which was extremely misleading - 'built up' only meant there were little villages and it wasn't just desolate paddy land or unpopulated. "
" The people in 'July, July' do find themselves looking backward, talking to others and to themselves about those over-the-cliff, fork-in-the-road moments in their lives. I imagine this is what must happen at a 30th college reunion. "
" I received my draft notice right after graduation from college and had three months before going into the Army in September to think about it. "
" If you stop loving someone, did you ever love them? If you say you're committed and later you're not committed, well, was the first thing commitment? You see what I mean? This kind of thing has always interested me. "
" I could feel my moral compass as a soldier, in danger of - I could feel the squeeze, the pressure of frustration and anger and fear combining on me... I felt the danger; I felt the squeeze of it. "
" The world comes at me that way - comes at me in clumps of stuff, sometimes little vignettes and sometimes whole stories. And then the rest is erased by the internal filter that erases things for the same reason you'd forget swatting a mosquito. "
" I did not set out to write another novel. One day I sat down with the thought of trying my hand at a piece of nonfiction, a personal memoir of youth, but over the next several weeks, without intending it, the work began evolving into what has become 'Tomcat in Love.' "
" I live in my head all day long and the world is a little dreamy. "
" Love, as wonderful and horrible as it is, has at its center a kind of pitiful humor. "
" It's very hard to articulate the things that are important about writing. "
" Laughter does not deny pain. Laughter - like a wail - acknowledges and replies to pain. "
" Place is so important to me. The Midwest is like a ghost in my life. It's present as I look out the window now. I see Texas, but if I close my eyes and look out the same window, I'm back in my hometown in Worthington, Minnesota, and I cherish those values and that diction. "
" I learned that moral courage is harder than physical courage. "
" In Iraq and Afghanistan, our soldiers signed up intentionally. That's a huge difference from the largely conscripted army of my era. "
" I showed up in October 1946, part of an early surge that would become a great nationwide baby boom. My sister Kathy was born a year later. "
" Stories can encourage us and embolden us to face ourselves and to feel. Stories can make us feel less alone. If we're reading a story that moves us, we can feel that emotion that I feel towards my father or mother or girlfriend. So they can give us late-night company. "
" Stories have a special way of putting us inside the people, inside the boots of the soldiers. You're absorbed in a way a documentary or nonfiction can't do for you. "
" With no draft, the only people who went to war were those who wanted to, or at least those who wanted to join the military. "
" America before the 1960s was a pretty innocent place. We were the Lone Ranger galloping off to the rescue of the needy and the oppressed of the world, and we could get things done. "
" I grew up with the Gene Kelly look at war. The cheerful kind of stories you tell about a horrendous war. "
" Everyone acts stupid at some time in order to be loved. "
" Storytelling is the essential human activity. The harder the situation, the more essential it is. "
" Sure, best seller. I'd love to knock Stephen King off the top of the list. I know I won't, but, after all, I spend my life inventing a different reality. "
" Life is never all one thing. It bounces around. Certainly, my own life has. Look at Woody Allen's funny movies - all the humor comes out of sad stuff. Sometimes you have to laugh, no matter what life deals you. "
" I've been surprised by Austin. I had a cowboy image of the place. It's a pretty sophisticated city - in some ways, more sophisticated than Boston. And there's a lighter feel to the place. It's very good for my spirits. "
" When you're so close to material, it would be as if you had come out of a bad marriage. You would be so close to it that you would be paying attention to detail that may not mean a whole lot for the reader. "
" Above all, a well-imagined story is organized around extraordinary human behaviors and unexpected and startling events, which help illuminate the commonplace and the ordinary. "
" You don't have to be in Nam to be in Nam. "
" The human life is all one thing, like a blade tracing loops on the ice: a little kid, a twenty-three-year-old infantry sergeant, a middle-aged writer knowing guilt and sorrow. "
" The goal, I suppose, any fiction writer has, no matter what your subject, is to hit the human heart and the tear ducts and the nape of the neck and to make a person feel something about the characters are going through and to experience the moral paradoxes and struggles of being human. "