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" Access to information, to music or any kind of culture, is getting faster and faster and more streamlined. At each juncture, people are thrown into tumult and have to adapt or die. "
" A lot of my writer friends live near me, and that makes people think we just hang around with one another in cafes, trading work and discussing 'Harper's' and what not. But I rarely see them. We're home working. "
" If you want to understand America, it's slavery. "
" Most of my books have always worked through juxtaposition, jumping through different point of views and time. "
" I try to keep each different book different from the last. So 'Sag Harbor' is very different from 'Apex Hides the Hurt;' 'The Intuitionist,' which is kind of a detective novel, is very different from 'John Henry Days.' I'm just trying to keep things rich for me creatively and for the readers who follow me. "
" In 'John Henry Days,' I was taking my idea of junketeering and sort of blowing it up to absurd extremes. "
" What isn't said is as important as what is said. "
" Anytime an African-American writes an unconventional novel, the writer gets compared to Ellison. But that's O.K. I am working in the African-American literary tradition. That's my aim and what I see as my mission. "
" I'm not a representative of blackness, and I'm not a healer. "
" For me, choosing between fiction and nonfiction is really only about picking the right tool for the job. "
" I do write about race a lot, but I don't think writers - of any shade or background or whatever - have to write about certain subjects. "
" You can raze the old buildings and erect magnificent corporate towers, hose down Port Authority, but you can't change people. "
" I always try to mix it up with each book - changing tone, changing style keeps the work very vital for me. "
" I'm just trying to keep things rich for me creatively and for the readers who follow me. "
" In college, I wrote maybe three short stories. "
" I usually have two or three ideas floating around. When I have free time, the one I end up thinking most about is the one I end up pursuing. "
" I'm not a teacher; I'm not a historian. I'm trying to create a world for my characters. "
" There's always an attack on the sophomore novel from some quarters. "
" Part of being in New York is being able to brag about what used to be there. "
" I never actually went anywhere when I was a journalist. I was a critic, and I just sort of got stuff in the mail and chatted about it. "
" I like questions that tee me up to make weird jokes, frankly. "
" I've always thought the Nat Turner story to be very interesting. "
" I was inspired to become a writer by horror movies and science fiction. "
" I'm always trying to switch voices and genres. "
" I write at home. I like to be able to take a nap, watch TV, make a sandwich, and if I wake up and don't feel like working, I'm not going to bang my head on my desk all day: I'll go out and do something else. "
" Being a slave meant never having the stability of knowing your family would be together as many years as God designed it to be. It meant you could come back from picking cotton in a field to find that your children are gone, your husband's gone, your mother's gone. "
" I like to explore different ideas of race, how the concept of race has evolved in the country. It's one thing I enjoy talking about, but I don't feel compelled to talk about it. "
" If the world's nations can set aside their petty bickering over religion, politics, and territory, certainly I can 'get that Olympic Spirit' and rise above my prejudices. "
" 'Zone One' has one kind of an apocalypse, and 'The Underground Railroad' another. In both cases, the narrators are animated by a hope in a better place of refuge - in the last surviving human outpost, Up North. Does it exist? They can only believe. "
" Zombies are a great rhetorical prop to talk about people and paranoia, and they are a good vehicle for my misanthropy. "
" I love getting out of the Q train at Union Square. It's such a mix of people, like a party. There's always an errand you can do along there, whether it's picking up contacts or buying poker chips. "