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" I am the world's worst reporter. I am apt to try too hard to help rather than just document my subjects. "
" I have no problem with animals, I just like people more. "
" There is nothing so cleansing or reassuring as a vicarious sadness. "
" It's rare that I'm not at work on some sort of craft project. I've often enthused about the need to make things; how it employs a unique set of muscles - physical, intellectual, spiritual - that I can attain a state of flow when making something that I almost never can when writing. "
" It's the false moral component behind blind animal love that so frosts me. The faulty logic that believes that the capacity to adore a nonhuman creature is somehow a purer form of love. "
" Fantastic days are what you wish upon those who have so few sunrises left, those whose lungs are so lesion-spangled with new cancer that they should be embracing as much life as they can. Time's a-wasting, go out and have yourself a fantastic day! Fantastic days are for goners. "
" Altruism is innate, but it's not instinctual. Everybody's wired for it, but a switch has to be flipped. "
" There's nothing particularly wrong with being more pessimistic than optimistic. Optimism is broad-based, non-detail-oriented thinking; pessimism is detail-oriented thinking. "
" Unless one is planning to go shopping - basically begging to be smothered by the ravening throngs of returners and bargain hunters; an embrace as constricting as that hugging machine designed by autistic author Temple Grandin - then Boxing Day feels like a bar after last call when the lights have been turned up. "
" Deprived of the opportunity to judge one another by the cars we drive, New Yorkers, thrown together daily on mass transit, form silent opinions based on our choices of subway reading. Just by glimpsing the cover staring back at us, we can reach the pinnacle of carnal desire or the depths of hatred. Soul mate or mortal enemy. "
" I have let half-decades elapse between books because books have to be writte and writing is awful, but if you are the type of person who makes things, there is no profit in worrying about how or why or when the next project will come into being beyond simply acknowledging that it is inevitable that it will be very soon. "
" I can see a great beauty in acknowledging the fact that the world is dark. "
" I aspire to write what are called 'familiar essays.' They begin in the personal and end in the universal. It's not for me to say if I have been successful at it. But that is the hope. "
" 'Play It Again Sam's opening shot is the same as 'Purple Rose's final one: a close-up of a face, rapt in a movie house. I've certainly felt that in my life. I've been known to cry watching Gene Kelly. "
" If you don't have your experiences in the moment, if you gloss them over with jokes or zoom past them, you end up with curiously dispassionate memories. "
" I had a beautiful childhood and a lovely childhood. I just didn't like being a child. I didn't like the rank injustice of not being listened to. I didn't like the lack of autonomy. "
" Before I sat down and became a writer, before I began to do it habitually and for my living, there was a decades-long stretch when I was terrified that it would suck, so I didn't write. I think that marks a lot of people, a real terror at being bad at something, and unfortunately, you are always bad before you can get a little better. "
" I cannot escape the feeling that I was, at best, a cancer tourist, that my survival means I dabbled. "
" Those weeks before diagnosis can be among the most torturous times. There is a reason you're called a patient once the plastic bracelet goes on. "
" I do not go outdoors... As far as I'm concerned, the whole point of living in New York City is indoors. You want greenery? Order the spinach. "
" A secondhand wardrobe hand clothes doesn't make one an artist. Neither do a hair-trigger temper, melancholic nature, propensity for tears, hating your parents, or HIV. I hate to say it - none of these make one an artist. They can help, but just as being gay doesn't make one witty... the only thing that makes one an artist is making art. "
" I will forever be grateful to my oncologist for opening the door and saying, 'Damn it, the tumor's 10 percent bigger,' before he even said hello. "
" I do tend to be an anxious fellow, and I do tend to see the world as a little darker than perhaps it genuinely is, but I also do appreciate much more than a rosy scenario, I appreciate straight news. I appreciate honesty. "
" Here's the thing: I'm not beautiful. I mean, I'm a perfectly normal-looking Jewish guy. My face has never been my fortune, nor has my body... physical beauty has never been part of my equation. It's just not on my shopping list. "
" Everybody's got something. In the end, what choice does one really have but to understand that truth, to really take it in, and then shop for groceries, get a haircut, do one's work; get on with the business of one's life. That's the hope, anyway. "
" About the only thing that I have - or had, because it's failing me lately - is my memory. I had a really good memory. I was always terribly protective of that fact. "
" I'm anti-religious. I don't like people telling me what to do. "
" At least three times a week, I am overwhelmed with a wave of gratitude to New York City for providing me with a life. Not that my life is so great, although I think it's pretty nifty: I don't mine coal; I get paid to write. "
" Everyone has an internal age, a time in life when one is, if not one's best, then at very least one's most authentic self. I always felt that my internal clock was calibrated somewhere between 47 and 53 years old. "
" I don't particularly consider myself an actor. I have no training. I love doing it, but I would never consider myself to be a colleague of an actual actor. That would be stepping way up in class on my part. "
" My salvation lies in time spent alone with an X-Acto knife and commercial-grade adhesive. "