I’ve been on this tour and people have been asking me, "What advice do you have for young writers?" I tell them: a) get off social media; b) don’t ask your friends what they think about your work or your ideas. You need to focus and be insane within yourself to build your sandcastle. The mind is so malleable and you need to have a steel trap around it, at least while you’re working on something.
On Friday nights—hamburger night, in my parents’ particular system of rituals—my father would stand guard at the entryway at the top of the stairs, the front door open to allow the greasy smoke to escape the apartment, with a cigarette and a bourbon over ice in his hands, the volume cranked so that the music banged up the narrow shaft containing the poured concrete steps of our apartment.
The time has come to talk about time, which is going to sort of be the subject of this part of our talk today. Time is a problem that goes way beyond literature and encompasses the very essence of man.
The future of contemporary art resides in waste, in the repulsive remainders of totalitarian capitalism stored in warehouses, abandoned housing blocks, and the sort of places that the robot in the film WALL-E had devoted his life to cleaning.
Their average age is twenty-three. They don’t smoke, they don’t drink, they don’t stay up late. Many of them listen to punk or heavy metal or rock, but all are able to differentiate a pericón from a Chilean cueca, a waltz from a vidala.
The World of Manet
can’t find the draft of my new poem The World of Manet
that I wrote on the Metro-North last month
after finding and taking art books from a box on the street
I remember driving into Marfa the first time. He’d said ‘Oh, I rented a house.’ I kept pointing at houses saying “Is that it? Is that it?”
Anything can be turned into a weapon—a handful of sand knotted in a stocking can bludgeon a person, and a wisp of air, as a bubble in a hypodermic needle, kills the patient without arousing suspicion; that we know from mystery novels.
"The last picture in the book is of this steamer belching smoke with all these cows in the foreground. The people who made that picture and then published it thought it was charming and picturesque. You want to warn them what’s coming.”
hides not in the minute but rather glories in the hour,
in the space of reformation.
If the twentieth century, as Walter Benjamin characterized it, was the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, the twenty-first century will be the Age of Simulation.
When I first moved to Los Angeles, I sat by Echo Park Lake and read Joan Didion’s 1970 novel Play It as It Lays twice. You have to be a special kind of depressive to read this book more than once, especially more than once back to back.
"I like the cover to be able to stand on its own and be part of the book. Different planes of experience."