There’s an immense dramatic possibility in describing that universe. The books, for me, were an enormous relief in that sense of how they were written to allow primary emotion, elemental emotion, to matter enormously but to give the thing an extraordinary flow so you don’t notice at what point that you’re actually overwhelmed by this. There’s no showiness, at all. It’s the opposite of showiness. I think, if it was a painting, it could be very grey abstract, almost, with some lines and very, very beautiful. But you wouldn’t have a notion of where the beauty was.(Talking about the short stories of Alistair MacLeod, who he discovered while working on The Modern Library.)
Well, you could rejuvenate a man like a tree. Cut off bad memories of him, scrape off all pain, all disappointments, like dead tissue; cut off mistakes, stupid decisions, mistakes, x-ray thoughts. And that it could be done after each winter so that the new year could come clean and innocent. We know—one of the following winters will kill us.
In this one life, this one life that you have to live, you must embrace every moment that creeps into your existence. You must feel every possible emotion to realize you’re really alive, you’re really living. If you build walls and you hide behind them in fear, you’re not embracing moments, you’re not actually living.