I’ve been teaching classes on memoirs since 1986, and I’ve been reading them all my life, and I think that I would like to write a critical book that might have some of those how-to elements in it.
I have a completely addictive personality. Diet Coke is my last – God, I know people counting days off Diet Coke; I’m such a Diet Cokehead. Now I won’t let myself buy it.
I get about five memoirs per week in my mailbox, and few of them inspire anything but a desire to pick up the channel changer.
I do have a really good memory. I mean, like, I can remember all the phone numbers of everybody on the street I grew up on.
When I got sober, I thought giving up was saying goodbye to all the fun and all the sparkle, and it turned out to be just the opposite. That’s when the sparkle started for me.
For days on end, I avoid the Web, never logging in until about two or three, after I’ve written all morning. On a good week, I don’t go online till after Wednesday, so four or five days might lapse without my checking e-mail.
It’s completely through prayer that I came to believe in God. I just sensed a presence south of my neck.
Both my parents were agnostic. My mother was kind of a Buddhist. She had some spiritual tendencies, but they were kind of flaky – New Agey, you know? Which is partly why I’m suspicious of that sort of thing. I’m skeptical of any spiritual practice that doesn’t involve other people and doesn’t involve some sort of consistent tradition.
People who didn’t live pre-Internet can’t grasp how devoid of ideas life in my hometown was. The only bookstores sold Bibles the size of coffee tables and dashboard Virgin Marys that glowed in the dark.
Every poem probably has sixty drafts behind it.