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"My first novel to be published, Forgetting Elena, came out. And I sent it to [Nabokov], and he sent me a charming letter. Two lines: 'Dear Mr. White, My wife and I both enjoyed your book very much. Everything is teetering on the edge of everything.' And the first line was: 'This is not for publication.'"
"I finally understood when I wrote Severance why poets get so excited about the restrictions of their form. Because it’s like the frame around the painting. Otherwise, you have to keep going and you paint the whole wall and then you go out the door. You have to use some of your creative energy to figure out where to stop."
"It's unclear as to what changed in the zeitgeist to make people stop wanting to read books about éclairs, and start reading books about feedlots, but book designers had to react in a hurry. No more soft beiges and maroons, out-of focus photographs of fruit, and calligraphic typefaces. Instead, designers were in the interesting position of conveying the idea that this was going to be a book about food that you a) should not be eating, b) really should not even want to be eating, and c) should maybe actively prevent everyone you know from eating."
"One of the many things I love about science fiction is that it is a genre that actively theorizes about the world. This is because so many science fiction stories are metaphors made literal. The battle of the sexes goes from Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy spatting to an actual battle with armies and weapons."
"Self-promotion is the devil's work and I hate it. It may be necessary -- as a writer you do want people to read your book -- but I can't escape guilt and a certain creeping nausea when clamoring for the attention of strangers. I'm also unskilled and unlucky when it comes to that stuff. The last time I sent an e-mail promoting Fires, Gawker.com acquired and published it as an example of evil self-promoting ivy league alumni."
"What are the six factors that, according to Walter, make us unlike any other species in the animal kingdom? (Anyone surly enough to point out that the poison dart frog and the woolly spider monkey too are unlike any other species in the animal kingdom just isn’t thinkin’ like a proud Homo sapiens). Here’s the list: big toe, opposable thumb, oddly shaped pharynx, and our abilities to laugh, cry, and kiss."
Barbara J. King
"I love narrative juxtaposition; really the only "straight" book or story I've ever written was my first novel, The Mineral Palace. The dialogue you can generate between different narrative sections to me feels so much more exciting than the potential solipsism of a single narrative thread."
"I started by writing about Winkie running away, and that story surprised me. Then I went on to write another story about Winkie in the forest where he encounters the Unabomber character. That was written way back in '97, not long after the Unabomber had actually been captured. I was interested in the Unabomber as a fairy tale figure and the way a figure like that becomes a sort of two-dimensional ogre, so it kind of made sense to me that Winkie would encounter him in the forest."