The walking tour guides one through the city's various landmarks, reciting bits of information the listener might find enlightening. I learned, for example, that in the late 1500s my little neighborhood square was a popular spot for burning people alive. Now lined with a row of small shops, the tradition continues, though in a figurative rather than literal sense.
His embarassment would have pleased me, but once he recovered, there would be that awkward period that sometimes culminates in a handshake. I didn't want to touch these people's hands or see things from their point of view, i just wanted to continue hating them. So i kept my mouth shut and stared off into space.
I think it just has to do with getting older and getting better at what it was i was doing, and that i could take something small and kind of take my time with it. I think actually what that has to do with is i quit drinking. Before that i told myself i could only drink if i was - if i was writing, i had to be drinking. So i was on a timer, because eventually you get too drunk to write.
When you go to that other country you realize that in france and in england, you don't ask somebody what they do for a living when you meet someone. A lot of the obvious things, the shortcuts we take in america - in america you can talk about money all you want. You can ask how much they make, rent they pay, how much their house costs and how much their car costs, and they'll feel comfortable telling you. But it's scandalous to ask anyone in england or france a question like that.
We're not unique in our family. We're more ambitious but we're not special. I'm not funnier than anyone else in my family; it's just that we wanted more than raleigh, north carolina, had to offer. If my brother wanted more than raleigh had to offer, you would know his name. My sister lisa has a really unique and different voice, but she doesn't want that. She's a fine writer, but never said, "i want a book. I want that kind of attention."
After the trial, i watched as another female pathologist collected maggots from a spinal column found in the desert. There was a decomposed head, too, and before leaving work she planned to simmer it and study the exposed cranium for contusions. I was asked to pass this information along to the chief medical examiner, and, looking back, i perhaps should have chosen my words more carefully. 'fire up the kettle,' i told him. 'ol'-fashioned skull boil at five p.M.
I'm friends with a lot of writers and so many of them say how much they hate signings and how they leave after a certain period of time. But what is so hard about sitting there while people tell you how much they love you? And if you don't like it, well, learn to like it. I try to take one person at a time. I never look down the line to see how many more people are left. And i always try to make people talk about something besides whatever they planned to say.
I mean, i'm always happy if i have, like, humiliating asshole things that i did. I think: oh good, that's a good story. Because if you write about humiliating asshole things other people do it doesn't work as well. I mean, you can, but you can get away with it better if you talk about what an asshole you are. It's much easier.
I tend to write things seven times before i show them to my editor. I write them seven times, then i take them on tour, read them like a dozen times on tour, then go back to the room and rewrite, read and rewrite... I would never show him a first draft, because then he's really going to be sick of it by the twelfth draft.
People discuss their relationships all the time, but you can't. I don't think people realize how harmful that is, how it twists you up to hide who you are. It's not healthy, and the great gains that homosexuals have made in my lifetime, i think that we'll look back in twenty or thirty years and say, "i can't believe we ever made them go through that."
States vote to take away my marriage rights, and even though i don't want to get married, it tends to hurt my feelings. I guess what bugs me is that it was put to a vote in the first place. If you don't want to marry a homosexual, then don't. But what gives you the right to weigh in on your neighbor's options? It's like voting whether or not redheads should be allowed to celebrate christmas.
All of a sudden, when you're exposed to a large audience, they think you just started writing that day, but i started years before. I look back at things i wrote then and i'm so embarrassed - the writing seems so blocky and choppy to me and i wouldn't have wanted success any sooner because the writing was even worse.