How do you get up in the morning?   

With a prayer and a stiff belt of BBC news.


Do you succumb to nostalgia?   

I try to adhere to Abbie Hoffman’s maxim that “nostalgia is just another form of depression.”  I try, but… oh, that first kiss…. 


Do you write long and cut, or short and backfill?  

Way long with lots of cutting and never quite enough.


How do you feel about your Wikipedia entry?  

What’s Wikipedia?  Should I get one?


Lunch with any three people who ever lived; who do you invite?  

Jesus, Carol Lombard and Bobby Kennedy.  Try me again tomorrow.


Best piece of advice you ever received?  

To go gladly amidst the sorrows of the world.


Disciplined or hot dog?   

Disciplined but while eating hot dogs, just so I’m ready.


Have you ever been defeated by a genre?  

Yes, I am only funny in the shower.


Which classic author would you like to see kicked out of the pantheon?   

I dunno, the Pantheon is a really big building.


Are you okay with blood?  

No.  People are dying stupid deaths all around the planet, every day.  I’ll never be okay with blood spilled by idiot misanthropists with guns.


Who is your imagined audience? Does it at all coincide with the real one?  

Smart, curious people with soul.  Yeah, I think they’re still out there.


What country would you want to be exiled in?  

Costa Rica or Bali.


What’s your favorite negative emotion?  



Is your study neat, or, like John Muir’s, is your desk and floor covered in “lateral, medial, and terminal moraines”?  

Once a year, it’s neat and then the moraines start to form.  


What is your go-to shoe?  

Chelsea boots and ankle-high lace-ups.  I stretched a lot of ligaments playing high school football.


What’s your poison?  



What’s your problem?  



Title of the book you’re probably never going to write, but would kind of like to get around to?  

Don’t Touch Me There, You Won’t Believe What Happens.


What are you so afraid of?  

Happy Face Fascism.


How long can you go without putting paw to keyboard?  

Seven hours, while I’m asleep.  


Do you require a high thread count?  

No, just a high med count.


Who reads you first?    

My wife and then my pals, Richard Rosen and Diane McWhorter, who love me less than my wife does and can tell it like it is.


Sexy and dangerous, or brilliant and kind?  

She was a bit of all four but I said I wouldn’t succumb to nostalgia.


What character or story haunts you?   

Benet’s “By the Waters of Babylon.”  Since 9/11, living in New York City can do that to you.


Does plot matter?  

Of course, if it springs from real characters.


Does age matter?   

I’m afraid so.


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 just need a window, a flat surface and a strong cup o’ Joe.


Who is the author you’d most like to impersonate online?  



Is there a literary community?  

There had better be are we are screwed.


What’s the question or questions we should have asked, had we known?  

Is there such a thing as American literature anymore?  Are American writers a bunch of spoiled narcissists detached from the big Millenial questions?  Are there any big Millenial questions?   Would we know one if we saw one?…