I’m contemplating if book sales and promotions can actually be rigged like so many other things in our everyday lives?
I love so many books and authors that it's hard to name just a few, but I'm always particularly excited when new books by Alice Hoffman, John Crowley, Joanne Harris, Elizabeth Knox, and Patricia McKillip come out. (And, of course, books by Ellen [Kushner], and Holly [Black], and the rest of the Bordertown crew!) I'm impatiently looking forward to Susanna Clarke's next book too.Aside from writing and reading, my favorite things to do are paint, walk in the countryside with my dog, and listen to music -- especially when it's live and it's played by friends. Fortunately there's a lot of live music where I live.
I’m most endeared to the fact that they used gifts and talents that were taught to them by other enterprising women who looked just like them. These are gifts and talents they brought with them from Africa and other distant shores. These were gifts and talents women used to appease their owners, and make their lives comfortable. These were gifts and talents used to fuel economies and for building communities. In one book I read, nickels from the sale of chicken eggs paid the college tuition of three children.
I prefer the company of books. When I'm reading, I'm never alone, I have a conversation with the book. It can be very intimate. Perhaps you know this feeling yourself? The sense that you're having an intellectual exchange with the author, following his or her train thought and you accompany each other for weeks on end.
And I’m in.”Chris nods. A few other guys step forward and, after a few moments, the entire crowd of ex-POWs takes one step, signifying their decision. My chest swells with pride – pride for Chris’s leadership, pride for the people willing to give their lives to take down Omega. It’s a rush.
I recall Decimus instructing me while at work that wrong friends will make my heart yearn for sin more than it usually does. Compromises will be easier and wisdom will be replaced with folly. I just figured that they didn’t know him, and therefore were judging him. Plus, I told them that Erebus …was interested in becoming a Christian, and that was the basis of our friendship. My biggest mistake was when I told John that Jesus spent time with sinners far worse than Erebus. ‘Oh foolishness, you forget I was with Jesus when he was in the homes and company of sinners,’ John chided. ‘Jesus did not come to make friends, but to call sinners to repent. Do that long enough and let’s see how many friends you pick up…His visits were hardly a social call…He did not save any lost soul by living like that lost soul…until Erebus sees Christ in you, you are guilty of leading him astray as I’m afraid he is leading you astray...As I see it, friendships are grown when you are all going in the same direction, and can help, encourage and protect all involved. Friendships are not to be reckless, but constructive and purposeful where you are building each other up and improving each other’s character. If this isn’t that inner, guiding principle of all the friends you hold, then in what direction is it actually going, and what good will be derived from it? If friends are not making each other better, then they’re fulfilling the role of our spiritual enemy by tearing down what is good and ruining what had potential……
I’m feeling a low regarding writing. I sometimes think I should finish working on my book of stripper poetry that I started, but other times I feel like it’s not worth it. Sometimes I think I should work on my comic book idea, and then other times I want to work on a website, and still other times I think I should be working on this memoir. That’s a lot of thinking about writing without a whole lot of writing going on.
I believe I’m very normal. I’m hyper-normal. I’m more normal than anyone else I know. I think my thoughts, my indulgences, my desires, my pleasures may at first appear different, but that is only because they are more normal, not because they are more esoteric.I believe I am bored when other people are bored, only faster. I am interested when others are interested, only more interested. But I also think I’m less, rather than more, intelligent than other people.By indulging my interests through my life, and perhaps because of rather than despite many failures, I have been able to design my life.
I remember, in no particular order:—a shiny inner wrist;—steam rising from a wet sink as a hot frying pan is laughingly tossed into it;—gouts of sperm circling a plughole, before being sluiced down the full length of a tall house;—a river rushing nonsensically upstream, its wave and wash lit by half a dozen chasing torchbeams;—another river, broad and grey, the direction of its flow disguised by a stiff wind exciting the surface;—bathwater long gone cold behind a locked door.This last isn’t something I actually saw, but what you end up remembering isn’t always the same as what you have witnessed.We live in time—it holds us and moulds us—but I’ve never felt I understood it very well. And I’m not referring to theories about how it bends and doubles back, or may exist elsewhere in parallel versions. No, I mean ordinary, everyday time, which clocks and watches assure us passes regularly: tick-tock, click-clock. Is there anything more plausible than a second hand? And yet it takes only the smallest pleasure or pain to teach us time’s malleability. Some emotions speed it up, others slow it down; occasionally, it seems to go missing—until the eventual point when it really does go missing, never to return.I’m not very interested in my schooldays, and don’t feel any nostalgia for them. But school is where it all began, so I need to return briefly to a few incidents that have grown into anecdotes, to some approximate memories which time has deformed into certainty. If I can’t be sure of the actual events any more, I can at least be true to the impressions those facts left. That’s the best I can manage.
I’m going to make sure you have a fucking miserable time here. This is my city, you hear? Good luck, you fucking black bastard.” And then he hung up.I had cooked with Gordon Ramsay once, a couple of years earlier, when we did a promotion with Charlie Trotter in Chicago. There were a handful of chefs there, including Daniel Boulud and Ferran Adrià, and Gordon was rude and obnoxious to all of them. As a group we were interviewed by the Chicago newspaper; Gordon interrupted everyone who tried to answer a question, craving the limelight. I was almost embarrassed for him. So when I was giving interviews in the lead-up to the Lanesborough event, and was asked who inspired me, I thought the best way to handle it was to say nothing about him at all. Nothing good, nothing bad. I guess he was offended at being left out. To be honest, though, only one phrase in his juvenile tirade unsettled me: when he called me a black bastard. Actually, I didn’t give a fuck about the bastard part. But the black part pissed me off.
Finally I find it, the book, but as I’m pulling it out of the stack I hear a noise coming from my toy room. It sounds like scratching or scraping maybe and my mind instantly goes to the possibility that maybe it’s a monster or a dragon or something else with claws. My hand shakes a little as I stand up and turn back toward the room. When I step into it, I feel the wind hit my cheeks. I shine the light around and notice one of the windows is open. I don’t understand why. I didn’t open it and I don’t think it was open when I came down here. What if it was a monster? I sweep the flashlight around the room at all my toys as I start back toward the corner. Then the light lands on something tall… I hear voices. Ones that don’t sound like they belong to a monster, but just people. But that’s what they end up being. Terrible, horrible monsters.
Actually I'm doing it because it helps promote my book. I work Monday through Friday... I don't need to go wrestle definitely, but it does help promote my book and it gets me out there to an audience that cannot be denied. Plus I found that I love it. Now I did something wrong, you see all my caps and gowns, I'd given away to charity. All my trunks, I've given away to charity. I have no boots. I had decided that I'd already wrestled my last match. I have to admit, I'd like to apologize to anybody who saw me in January, that I did wrestle but I was not properly supported.
Learning to See” I’m always teaching myself to see beauty in all aspects of reality, yearning to learn the beauty in others, from their vision of everyday life to their deepest secrets of their dreams. As the sun rises I must smile, smile for those with the beautiful mind and soul. I’m so passionate for the visions I see, and the dreams I wish the world could be.
I’m Christian, but if God is truly a God of love, then why would he have a private torture chamber where he put people that he was supposed to love and forgive to be punished forever? If you actually read the Bible, the idea of hell like in the movies and most books was invented by a writer. Dante’s Inferno was ripped off by the Church to give people something to be afraid of, to literally scare people into being Christian.
I’m not forcing you to do anything. You need to make your own damn decisions . And I'm not playing this game where we ignore reality and pretend to have a normal conversation for a few hours. You need to face reality and stop turning life into a movie. I'm not a puppet in your show. This is real life and you're always trying to ignore it for some cheap fantasy version where no problems exist. That's not noble of you, okay? You're not strong. You're a weak person like the rest of us. You've just learned to excel at avoiding issues. But there are issues . Life has so many freaking issues and if you can't force your own self to face life and make decisions without someone telling you what the hell to do, you're just going to end up another chess piece moved around by others.
I hope I’m being clear, I didn’t say I hate feminists, that would be weird. I said I hate feminist. I’m talking about the word.I have the privilege living my life inside of words and part of being a writer is creating entire universes, and that's beautiful, but part of being a writer is also living in the very smallest part of every word....But the word feminist, it doesn't sit with me, it doesn't add up. I want to talk about my problem that I have with it. ...Ist in it's meaning is also a problem for me. Because you can't be born an ist. It's not natural... So feminist includes the idea that believing men and women to be equal, believing all people to be people, is not a natural state. That we don't emerge assuming that everybody in the human race is a human, that the idea of equality is just an idea that's imposed on us. That we are indoctrinated with it, that it's an agenda......My problem with feminist is not the word. It's the question. "Are you now, or have you ever been, a feminist?" The great Katy Perry once said—I'm paraphrasing—"I'm not a feminist but I like it when women are strong."...Don't know why she feels the need to say the first part, but listening to the word and thinking about it, I realize I do understand. This question that lies before us is one that should lie behind us. The word is problematic for me because there's another word that we're missing......When you say racist, you are saying that is a negative thing. That is a line that we have crossed. Anything on the side of that line is shameful, is on the wrong side of history. And that is a line that we have crossed in terms of gender but we don't have the word for it......I start thinking about the fact that we have this word when we're thinking about race that says we have evolved beyond something and we don't really have this word for gender. Now you could argue sexism, but I'd say that's a little specific. People feel removed from sexism. ‘I'm not a sexist, but I'm not a feminist.' They think there's this fuzzy middle ground. There's no fuzzy middle ground. You either believe that women are people or you don't. It's that simple....You don’t have to hate someone to destroy them. You just have to not get it....My pitch is this word. ‘Genderist.’ I would like this word to become the new racist. I would like a word that says there was a shameful past before we realized that all people were created equal. And we are past that. And every evolved human being who is intelligent and educated and compassionate and to say I don't believe that is unacceptable. And Katy Perry won't say, "I'm not a feminist but I like strong women," she'll say, "I'm not a genderist but sometimes I like to dress up pretty." And that'll be fine....This is how we understand society. The word racism didn't end racism, it contextualized it in a way that we still haven't done with this issue. ...I say with gratitude but enormous sadness, we will never not be fighting. And I say to everybody on the other side of that line who believe that women are to be bought and trafficked or ignored...we will never not be fighting. We will go on, we will always work this issue until it doesn't need to be worked anymore....Is this idea of genderist going to do something? I don't know. I don't think that I can change the world. I just want to punch it up a little.
Pamela, I’m in love with you. Yeah, it’s that bad. You’re so beautiful to me. Shut up! Lemme tell you. Let me. Every time I look at your face or even remember it, it wrecks me - and the way you are with me - and you’re just fun and you shit all over me and you make fun of me and you’re real. I don’t have enough time in any day to think about you enough. I feel like I’m going to live a thousand years cause that’s how long it’s gonna take me to have one thought about you which is that I’m crazy about you, Pamela. I don’t wanna be with anybody else. I don’t. I really don’t. I don’t think about women anymore. I think about you. I had a dream the other night that you and I were on a train. We were on this train and you were holding my hand. That’s the whole dream. You were holding my hand and I felt you holding my hand. I woke up and I couldn’t believe it wasn’t real. I’m sick in love with you, Pamela. It’s like a condition. It’s like polio. I feel like I’m gonna die if I can’t be with you. And I can’t be with you. So I’m gonna die - and I don’t care cause I was brought into existence to know you and that’s enough. The idea that you would want me back it’s like greedy.
Responding to a moderator at the Sydney Writers Festival in 2008 (video), about the Spanish words in his book:When all of us are communicating and talking when we’re out in the world, we’ll be lucky if we can understand 20 percent of what people say to us. A whole range of clues, of words, of languages escape us. I mean we’re not perfect, we’re not gods. But on top of that people mis-speak, sometimes you mis-hear, sometimes you don’t have attention, sometimes people use words you don’t know. Sometimes people use languages you don’t know. On a daily basis, human beings are very comfortable with a large component of communication, which is incomprehensibility, incomprehension. We tend to be comfortable with it. But for an immigrant, it becomes very different. What most of us consider normative comprehension an immigrant fears that they’re not getting it because of their lack of mastery in the language.And what’s a normal component in communication, incomprehension, in some ways for an immigrant becomes a source of deep anxiety because you’re not sure if it’s just incomprehension or your own failures. My sense of writing a book where there is an enormous amount of language that perhaps everyone doesn’t have access to was less to communicate the experience of the immigrant than to communicate the experience that for an immigrant causes much discomfort but that is normative for people. which is that we tend to not understand, not grasp a large part of the language around us. What’s funny is, will Ramona accept incomprehension in our everyday lives and will greet that in a book with enormous fury. In other words what we’re comfortable with out in the outside world, we do not want to encounter in our books.So I’m constantly, people have come to me and asked me… is this, are you trying to lock out your non-Dominican reader, you know? And I’m like, no? I assume any gaps in a story and words people don’t understand, whether it’s the nerdish stuff, whether it’s the Elvish, whether it’s the character going on about Dungeons and Dragons, whether it’s the Dominican Spanish, whether it’s the sort of high level graduate language, I assume if people don’t get it that this is not an attempt for the writer to be aggressive. This is an attempt for the writer to encourage the reader to build community, to go out and ask somebody else. For me, words that you can’t understand in a book aren’t there to torture or remind people that they don’t know. I always felt they were to remind people that part of the experience of reading has always been collective. You learn to read with someone else. Yeah you may currently practice it in a solitary fashion, but reading is a collective enterprise. And what the unintelligible in a book does is to remind you how our whole, lives we’ve always needed someone else to help us with reading.
I’m trying in all my stories to get the feeling of the actual life across—not to just depict life—or criticize it—but to actually make it alive. So that when you have read something by me you actually experience the thing. You can’t do this without putting in the bad and the ugly as well as what is beautiful. Because if it is all beautiful you can’t believe in it. Things aren’t that way.
I’m sorry, but we can’t carry that book because it’s so Jewish and some people in my school don’t agree with Jewish culture,” I would protest until I reached my last gasp. Prohibiting gay books is just as abhorrent…Discrimination is not a legitimate point of view. Silencing books silences the readers who need them most. And silencing these readers can have dire, tragic consequences. Never forget who these readers are. They are just as curious and anxious about life as any other teenager.
This book tells my story. I’m writing it in Ireland, in a house on a hillside. The house sits low in the landscape between a holy well and the site of an Iron Age dwelling. It was built of stones ploughed out of the fields by men who knew how to raise them with their hands and to lock one stone to the next so each was firm. It’s a lone house on the foothills of the last mountain on the Dingle peninsula, the westernmost point in mainland Europe. At night the sky curves above it like a dark bowl, studded with stars.…From the moment I crossed the mountain, I fell in love with the place, which was more beautiful than any I’d ever seen. And with a way of looking at life that was deeper, richer, and wiser than any I’d known before.