As soon as we conform anything to language, we’ve changed it. Use a word and you’ve altered the world. The poets know this. It’s what they try so hard to avoid.
In people like us, the craving is as strong as the craving for food or water, the yearning for touch or light or love. I was looking for something--a diversion, an occupation, an unwavering force--that would elevate me, that would lift me out of the melancholy dissection of my own interior geography that otherwise would have consumed me pitilessly, as it had my father. I wanted to fly above myself-- if only for a few hours--and look down in tranquility upon my life.
I'm a craftsman type of teacher. I don't like the thematic type of teaching that takes place in a lot of colleges.
In medical school, you're taught to write in this convoluted, Latinate way. I knew the vocabulary as well as anyone, but I would write kidney instead of nephric. I insisted on using English.
When I went for my medical school interview, I had an old paperback of 'Henderson the Rain King' in the pocket of my coat. I was wearing the best clothes I had - a pair of cords and a sport coat - but when I got to the office, all the other interviewees were lined up in their black suits.
The historical background is one of the easier aspects of writing a novel. Far more difficult is dreaming up the smaller, character-based scenes, scenes that rise entirely from one's own imagination.
I don't think there is such a thing as pure imagination. I think it's a combination of memory and invention.
There has always been a tension in my life between the romantic and the practical. I can't hole myself up in a cabin and write down ideas for the rest of my life. I also need to be able to clean out a dog bite.