I started to write things down, as a very young child, wanting to find a way to remember – to keep close, somehow – moments that made an impression on me.
I think there are all kinds of aspects to reality, to domestic reality, and why don’t we just talk about them all?
Young men keep telling me they don’t ‘have it all’ either. And they may have a point. But if you define ‘having it all’ as the opportunity to have a successful career and a family, I’d say this. When a man tells his coworkers he’s going to have a child, no one asks him how he’ll manage or if he’ll be coming back to work.
As any parent knows, part of your mind is always engaged – wondering and worrying that everything is okay and calculating all the stuff that has to get done in the course of a day. When the children are asleep in their beds, I can go where I really need to go in my head.
Believe it or not, we will actually be better and happier workers if we are allowed to be better parents. We might even rediscover our capacity for fun.
It’s a fantastic privilege to spend three or four hundred pages with a reader. You have time to go into certain questions that are painful or difficult or complicated. That’s one thing that appeals to me very much about the novel form.
When I used to teach civil procedure as a law professor, I would begin the year by telling my students that ‘civil procedure is the etiquette of ritualized battle.’ The phrase, which did not originate with me, captured the point that peaceful, developed societies resolve disputes by law rather than by force.
We should be proud of our country when we have done something to be proud of, when we have lived up to our own standards. But the flip side of genuine pride is being able to recognize when we have fallen short, and to hold ourselves to account.
Fiction allows you to embody certain ideas and give them an emotional reality. The characters allow you to get close viscerally to an idea.
There should be a democracy of voices in literature. There are people who live with a kind of striving and with a certain kind of tenderness – it’s not an unusual thing – and maybe that’s not written about enough.