There’s always someone asking you to underline one piece of yourself – whether it’s Black, woman, mother, dyke, teacher, etc. – because that’s the piece that they need to key in to. They want to dismiss everything else.
I grew very skeptical of certain kind of Jewish separatism in my youth. I mean, I saw the Jewish community was always with each other; they didn’t trust anybody outside. You’d bring someone home, and the first question was, ‘Are they Jewish, are they not Jewish?’
When you have a child, your previous life seems like someone else’s. It’s like living in a house and suddenly finding a room you didn’t know was there, full of treasure and light.
One of the things that sells music is when the artist is looked at as someone who’s come up from the streets. Not just any streets, but the toughest, meanest streets of the urban ghetto. And that’s called ‘street credibility.’
Putin and his advisers don’t understand the power of public opinion in the West. They believe in conspiracy theories and that someone is orchestrating a malicious campaign against Russia. They don’t realize that even conservative politicians have to react when newspapers and artists express their concern on such an issue.
Language just gradually came in, one or two stressed words a time. Before then, I would just scream. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t get my words out. So the only way I could tell someone what I wanted was to scream. If I didn’t want to wear a hat, the only way I knew to communicate was screaming and throwing it on the floor.
Someone sits at a table or lies on a sofa while staring motionless at a wall or ceiling. Once in a while this person writes down seven lines, only to cross out one of them 15 minutes later, and then another hour passes, during which nothing happens. Who could stand to watch this kind of thing?
For me, a big part of writing psychological thrillers is choosing crimes committed for motives which would only apply to a particular person in a particular situation; a unique, one-off motive that is born out of someone’s particular range of psychological afflictions.
Often people, when they’re confronted with a poem, it’s like someone who keep saying ‘what is the meaning of this? What is the meaning of this?’ And that dulls us to the other pleasures poetry offers.
The home funeral – caring for the dead ourselves – changes our relationship to grieving. If you have been married to someone for 50 years, why would you let someone take them away the moment they die?