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" Genre might certainly increase some of your narrative freedoms, but it also diminishes others. That's the nature of genre. "
" In minority communities there's a sensitivity, often a knee-jerk reaction, to critical representations. There's a misunderstanding of what an artist does. "
" My novel, which I had started with such hope shortly after publishing my first book of stories, wouldn't budge past the 75-page mark. Nothing I wrote past page 75 made any kind of sense. Nothing. Which would have been fine if the first 75 pages hadn't been pretty damn cool. "
" Just the fact that you get to live and breathe and interact with the world - that's pretty marvelous. "
" When I enter that higher-order space that's required to write, I'm a better human. For whatever my writing is, wherever it's ranked, it definitely is the one place that I get to be beautiful. "
" It took me sixteen years to write. "
" You know, I was a kid who had difficulty speaking English when I first immigrated. But in my head, when I read a book, I spoke English perfectly. No one could correct my Spanish. And I think that I retreated to books as a way, you know, to be, like, masterful in a language that was really difficult for me for many years. "
" When I was working on 'Drown' - this was way back in the mid-'90s - I had this idea that I wanted to do another collected stories. I wanted to do another book like 'Drown' that focused specifically on infidelity. "
" I think the average guy thinks they're pro-woman, just because they think they're a nice guy and someone has told them that they're awesome. But the truth is far from it. "
" I feel most like myself... after I run - I go out for five miles every morning. "
" The thing is, you try your best, and what else you got? You try your best, really, that's all you can do. And for me, my best happens really so rarely. "
" Students teach all sorts of things but most importantly they make explicit the courage that it takes to be a learner, the courage it takes to open yourself to the transformative power of real learning and that courage I am exposed to almost every day at MIT and that I'm deeply grateful for. "
" I'm still trying to figure out how to write about cancer and my family's experience with it. If I had been able to write 'The Pura Principle' back in those days, I'm positive it would have had no humor in it. Which means the story would have been false. "
" I'm not writing fairy tales or object lessons. "
" I think one of the paradoxes of writing fiction is when people enjoy it, they want it to be real. So they look for connections. "
" I read a book a week, man. And I don't have a great memory, but I have a good memory about what I read. "
" Being an author is always like being a well-run dictatorship - it's all one person speaking. "
" When I write, what I long for is not more realism or fiction but more courage. That's what I always find myself short on and what I have to struggle to achieve in order that the work might live. "
" Let me tell you, if I could write one-tenth as fast as some of my friends, I'd be made. I'd be it. But instead I happen to be, in the tree of life of writers, down at the bottom, with the hematodes. "
" I don't think I could have tackled 'The Pura Principle' until now. It takes me about twenty years to come to term with any difficult period in my life, to get enough of a grasp on it to fictionalize it. "
" I really am a believer that 99.99% of all the stories we need, not only as artists but as human beings, not only as writers but as readers, haven't been written yet. Certainly haven't been published yet. "
" Any art worth its name requires you to be fundamentally lost for a very long time. "
" My thing is every generation of Americans has to answer what we call the 'Superman Question.' Superman comes, lands in America. He's illegal. He's one of these kids. He's wrapped up in a red bullfighter's cape. And you've got to decide what we're gonna do with Superman. "
" I write very, very slowly, and for me, I have to summon all sorts of resources to make one of these pieces work. "
" I discovered early that as an artist there was absolutely nothing wrong with being surrounded by people who were not dedicated to your field. "
" There is a lot of scepticism today as to whether memoir is real. But when fiction is done at a certain level there is scepticism as to whether it is really fiction. "
" New Jersey for me is so alive with history. It's old, dynamic, African-American, Latino. "
" Stereotypes, they're sensual, cultural weapons. That's the way that we attack people. At an artistic level, stereotypes are terrible writing. "
" I seem to have to make my characters family before I can access their hearts in any way that matters. "
" Artists are not cheerleaders, and we're not the heads of tourism boards. We expose and discuss what is problematic, what is contradictory, what is hurtful and what is silenced in the culture we're in. "
" I seem to enjoy telling stories with a central absence, with a lacuna tunnelled into them. "