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"I doubt that Valley of the Dolls would be allowed as a book report project in the present state of affairs in our school system. But I also knew I had to say that I had sinned and hate the book to get an A from Mrs. Fikes. So there is the conundrum of the South: eccentricity is an art form down there as long as you don't stray too far from the norm."
"All the violence -- and very much more -- portrayed in my book took place in 1565. The one thing I can say for certain is that no matter how bloody my novel is, the reality was unimaginably bloodier still. And so it is today all over the planet. Our masters shield us from these realities very successfully, but only for their own benefit, not for ours."
"Aristotle says that fiction should do one of two things: reflect the world as it is, or make it better. People sometimes forget that real women, even ones covered in nappies and shit and bleach etc., do not spend all their time thinking about dresses and princesses and kisses -- it’s women in stories that do that. And these are stories that make things worse. Most women out there are geeky in some way, and you’re right that not much fiction reflects this."
"[Sacred Games] was published in England actually without a glossary. The impression I get from most people reading it from the context and from reading the word again and again and finally figure out what it means, if not specifically, at least generally. It’s a common experience for anybody reading something from another culture. I grew up in India reading children’s British fiction and there were all these baffling foods like macaroons."
"It’s true that [Dykes to Watch Out For] is not as financially viable as it would be to devote myself completely to books. It might be a smart thing, actually, but somehow I don’t think so. I feel Dykes is like a steady investment. A municipal bond. It has supported me for many years, not just financially, but as a really great outlet -- especially during the Bush administration. I think I would go insane without somewhere to vent this stuff."
"I felt, absolutely, when AIDS started that that was it, that there was no point in writing now. And yet I was able to write about it because of the columns in Christopher Street for which I was very grateful. It would have been obscene to fictionalize it at the time."
Literature is a civilizing medium. It gives polish, it covers up, but it also reveals and emphasizes. At times the task of a writer consists in playing off the face with the mask. So, yes, writing allows me to dig in very, very deeply and to be quite frank and public, sometimes even shameless, about what I've dug out... provided that in whatever I say there are built in 'mini-shelters' and 'loopholes.'"
“My book, African Psycho, is deeply rooted in Africa, and I needed to focus on an awkward character who is unable to commit a real murder -- Gregoire Nakobomayo. American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman is a product of America; he is rich -- the image of the successful Manhattan executive. Gregoire is the opposite. He is an orphan. He is poor. He lives on the street. He was adopted by a rich family, but it is not his world. He wants to resemble Angoualima, a mythical serial killer from the other Congo. Patrick Bateman is the perfect serial killer. Gregoire is just eternally awkward.”
"February 12 is the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birthday (a birth date shared with Abraham Lincoln). Global events of commemoration and celebration mark every Darwin Day, but all previous festivities will pale next to the 2009 version, when the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth coincides with the 150th anniversary of publication of Origin of Species."
Barbara J. King