MARCH 26, 2012
How do you get up in the morning?
I get up early, REALLY early, and the first thing I usually see is the yellow Post-it on my bathroom mirror. It says: “I WONDER WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN TODAY…”
Do you succumb to nostalgia?
Absolutely, In fact, I spend a great deal a time with my memory wheel spinning back to the year 1959, when I was a teenager and everything was unabashedly new: sex, rock and roll, surfing, and when the age I am now was unimaginable.
Do you write long and cut, or short and backfill?
Long and cut. And then revise endlessly.
How do you feel about your Wikipedia entry?
I can live with it.
Lunch with any three people who ever lived; who do you invite?
Sticking with the 20th century: Edward Hopper, Jean Seberg, Meyer Lansky.
Best piece of advice you ever received?
“Don’t ever — EVER — give up.”
Disciplined or hot dog?
Are you okay with blood?
Who is your imagined audience?
Gamblers, drunks, actors, orphans, waiters, and women with unsteady hearts who sleep all day in rented rooms. All the solitary souls. And, of course, anyone who likes a good story.
Does it at all coincide with the real one?
I hope so.
What is your go-to shoe?
Black Adidas shell toe with white stripes. Old school kicks.
What’s your poison?
What’s your problem?
Thinking that I’ve been appointed the ethical consultant for the planet.
Title of the book you’re probably never going to write, but would kind of like to get around to?
BILLY BAD DREAMS AND HIS KNOWLEDGE BOX.
What are you so afraid of?
How long can you go without putting paw to keyboard?
If I’m working on something, like I am now, I write every day except Sunday. On my rare vacations, I don’t obsess.
Who reads you first?
Over the years, my readers have changed. I used to have a close woman friend and wonderful writer who was my first reader. We eventually grew apart, so I had to look elsewhere. My buddy Jeremy Larner gives me great notes, including the best I’ve ever received (on my first novel). Thirty pages worth. These days my son gives me the most interesting and (painfully) honest feedback, especially when it comes to screenplays.
What character or story haunts you?
Ben Flesh, in Stanley Elkin’s novel, THE FRANCHISER.
Does age matter?
Do you prefer to write standing, or must you lie prone in a field of dandelions with a steno pad and a good pen? Or what?
I used to write in longhand with a pencil on yellow legal pads. I never thought I would change, but I have. Now I compose sentences on my iPad with my Zaggmate Keyboard.
Is there a literary community?
Not that I’m part of.
What’s the question or questions we should have asked, had we known? What is the answer?
QUESTION: Do you have a mantra that helps you get through the day? ANSWER: “Be grateful, face reality, stay out of the future, and treat people decently.” Not that I ever consistently follow these suggestions.