I'm certainly very influenced by what you would call 'contemporary headline horror,' stuff that is true crime or for one reason or another catches our attention in the media, those strange cases that we end up obsessing about. I'm always influenced by weird anecdotes and news.
I can't understand how people can settle for having just one life. I remember we were in English class and we were talking about that poem by - that one guy. David Frost. 'Two roads diverged in a yellow wood-' You know this poem, right? 'Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood and looked down one as far as I could, to where it bent in the undergrowth-" "I loved that poem. But I remember thinking to myself: Why? How come you can't travel both? That... Read more »
What if you believed that everything in life was like a prize? What if you thought of the world as a big random drawing, and you were always winning things, the world offering them up with a big grin, like an emcee's: Here you go, Hollis. Here is a motorcycle. Here is a little boy who loves you. Here is a weird experience, here is something bad that you should mull over because it will make you a better person. What if you could think that life was this free vacation you'd won, and you won just because you happened... Read more »
People write fiction in their minds all the time - every time we read a 'human interest' news story, or a true crime tale, we find ourselves fascinated because we're trying to understand why people behave the way they do, why they make the choices they do, how we become who we become.
How can you come to understand your life when even the beginning is so complicated: a single cell imprinted with the color of your eyes and the shape of your face the pattern on your palm and the moods that will shadow you through your life. How can you be alive when every choice you make breaks the world into a thousand filaments each careless step branching into long tributaries of alternate lives shuddering outward and outward like sheet lightning.
I usually have more than one thing I'm working on at once -- I've been working on three different novels. When I get stuck on one, I hop back and forth. It's sort of freeing: I can say I'm abandoning this thing that I hate forever and I'm moving on to something that's good. I'll find that I'll go back to [the other project] in a day or a week and like it again. But that moment of wanting to trash something -- that Virginia Woolf moment when you have to be stopped from filling your pocket with stones --... Read more »
Sometimes he thinks that if he could only trace the path of his life carefully enough, everything would become clear. The ways that he screwed up would make sense. He closes his eyes tightly. His life wasn't always a mistake, he thinks, and he breathes uncertainly for awhile, trying to find a pathway into unconsciousness, into sleep.
I started out as a poet who primarily wanted to write about image and moment. Over the years I've been trying to teach myself how to do plot and scene. My first story collection had the most issues with the plotlessness, and when I was writing my second collection I was teaching myself how to make things happen.
I've been reading Peter Straub since I was a teenager, and his work is hardwired into my brain. A Dark Matter contains echoes of all that has been great about Straub's previous work and builds upon it. This Rashomon-like tale is as spooky and frightening as anything he has written, but it's also an intense and moving celebration of love. Out of the darkness comes, ultimately, a surprising and haunting sense of joy.
The thing that grounds you, and the thing that really gives you a sense of wholeness, is your family, friends and your community. Those are the things that can mirror back to you what you're experiencing, and can affirm to you that the stories you are telling are true.
For the last few years I've tried to force myself to write at least one page every day, which doesn't sound like much but it's actually pretty hard to manage. Because I'm not allowed to do a make-up day. I can't do two pages the next day. The punishment for not completing my page is that I have to eat a vegetarian meal the next day.
I have to admit that 'Psychology Today' was one of the first magazines I started reading, back when I was 13 or 14, because I was the kind of kid that was curious about the mysterious human mind - I hoped to learn about telekenisis, multiple personalities, psychosis, and various other cool and terrible things that happened inside people's heads.
There is a stage you reach, Deagle thinks, a time somewhere in early middle age, when your past ceases to be about yourself. Your connection to your former life is like a dream or delirium, and that person who you once were is merely a fond acquaintance, or a beloved character from a storybook. This is how memory becomes nostalgia. They are two very different things - the same way that a person is different from a photograph of a person.
I'd read an enormous amount but had spent so much time in my own head that I didn't have extensive social skills. Suddenly I was in this world where I was surrounded by these incredibly polished and wealthy kids who had gone to prep schools, and I felt daunted by them. I don't think people were aware of how full of anxiety I was... For a long time I felt like I was living in a place where I shouldn't have been.
It doesn't matter what you do. In the end, you are going to be judged, and all the times that you're not at your most dignified are the ones that will be recalled in all their vivid, heartbreaking detail. And then of course these things will be distorted and exaggerated and replayed over and over, until eventually they turn into the essence of you: your cartoon.