Sharing an office is like being in a Beckett play...after everything has been said you still must go on talking.
I didn't want to be very famous or even famous; I just wanted to be published.
Nothing in all the world--not even old age, sickness and death--is as painful as one-sided love, which is a foreglimpse of the other three.
...my mother had always said flashy, provocative things in elevators, hoping to appear intriguing to perfect strangers...
The id, in order to flourish, needs to put aside the ego's quibbling negotiations with reality.
...if critics and publishers say they esteem originality, what they really mean is a small variation on a known theme, not an innovation _ex nihilo_.
A muscle that had been holding on for so long I'd stopped noticing its existence relaxed.
...every instant mattered too much: love, in fact, can be defined as precisely that state in which every moment matters.
Whereas I was willing to tell anyone everything about my sex life, I was reluctant to confide my ideas even to my closest friends, not because I was proprietary about what lawyers call 'intellectual property,' but because, well, I scarcely ever had carefully defined ideas and, as a novelist, I was more likely to form an idea in a dramatic context I'd invented, in a conflict between two characters, than in the abstract.
...how many people would understand and forgive the heartless, manipulative craftsmanship of great art?
I came to realize that meeting a writer, knowing him up close, in the hope of better understanding his work, was a useless, even destructive enterprise.
...to the degree a writer has metamorphosed his blood into ink his is an abandoned body. Or if the writer still has a personality, it is full of sharps and flats at odds with the tuned melody emitted by his writing.
...Joshua was a true friend, someone who takes you at your own evaluation, who buys your version, the opposite of a shrink.
Famous writers...are not on the lookout for neglected talent. They're more concerned about how to ship all those Seroukis paintings back from Athens or how to fill the chipped molar, upper left.
My social insecurity was spurred to life when a Swedish acquaintance of mine said, 'It's a shame you can't live in Europe for a while. It would give you some of the polish you need.'
These stories...gave me a sense of how history is nothing but feuds and fashionable conversations, how it remains in the memory of the last intact brain of the lone survivor, and if it is to be thought about at all afterwards it must become a monument to be deciphered or a legend to be read--not by hordes all at once but singly, occaionally, imperfectly.
...I wanted to see if the old ambition of fiction, to say the most private, uncoded, previously unformulated things, might still work, might once again collar a stranger, look him in the eye, might demand sympathy from this unknown person but still give him sympathy in return. These secret meetings--unpredictable, subversive--of reader and writer were all I lived for.