- Anecdotes don't make good stories. Generally, I dig down underneath them so far that the story that finally comes out is not what people thought their anecdotes were about.
- Memory is the way we keep telling ourselves our stories - and telling other people a somewhat different version of our stories.
- I have recently re-read much of Chekhov and it's a humbling experience. I don't even claim Chekhov as an influence because he influenced all of us. Like Shakespeare his writing shed the most perfect light - there's no striving in it, no personality. Well, of course, wouldn't I love to do that!
- I want the reader to feel something is astonishing. Not the 'what happens,' but the way everything happens. These long short story fictions do that best, for me.
- I can't play bridge. I don't play tennis. All those things that people learn, and I admire, there hasn't seemed time for. But what there is time for is looking out the window.
- In my own work, I tend to cover a lot of time and to jump back and forward in time, and sometimes the way I do this is not very straightforward.
- In twenty years I've never had a day when I didn't have to think about someone else's needs. And this means the writing has to be fitted around it.
- Sometimes I get the start of a story from a memory, an anecdote, but that gets lost and is usually unrecognizable in the final story.
- Sometimes I read one of my stories, maybe one that I wrote thirty years ago, and I think, Now I'd go and do it differently. Or I think I would just alter a phrase that seems to me a little too polished or too sharp or too smart-aleck or something. Or too ironic. Irony was so big then that it got under your skin and you sort of didn't recognize it.
- The complexity of things - the things within things - just seems to be endless. I mean nothing is easy, nothing is simple.
- The stories are not autobiographical, but they're personal in that way. I seem to know only the things that I've learned. Probably some things through observation, but what I feel I know surely is personal.
- When I'm doing the first draft, I have a so-much-a-day schedule. But when I start putting it on the computer I can get carried away, and I try to go as far as I can every day, as if I were going to die in the night or something.
- The deep, personal material of the latter half of your life is your children. You can write about your parents when they're gone, but your children are still going to be here, and you're going to want them to come and visit you in the nursing home.
- That's something I think is growing on me as I get older: happy endings.