Why do I write? It's not that I want people to think I am smart, or even that I am a good writer. I write because I want to end my loneliness.
In America right now, we use words like 'smart' to talk about bombs. American rhetoric is grounded in ideas of capital-G Good, capital-E Evil, and it's very clear who is on which side. But in a book you can do just the opposite. You can use all lower-case words.
People don't care enough. They don't get worked up enough. They don't get angry enough. They don't get passionate enough. I'd rather somebody hate what I do than be indifferent to it.
I usually write away from home, in coffee shops, on trains, on planes, in friends' houses. I like places where there's stuff going on that you can lift your eyes, see something interesting, overhear a conversation.
People who care about animals tend to care about people. They don't care about animals to the exclusion of people. Caring is not a finite resource and, even more than that, it's like a muscle: the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.
Food is not rational. Food is culture, habit, craving and identity.
It would be refreshing to have a politician try to defend guns without any reference to the Second Amendment, but on the merits of guns.
When you read something you have written, you have to confront some of the lies you have been telling yourself.
Is there really anyone, besides Rudy Giuliani, who prefers the new Times Square?
I see myself as someone who makes things. Definitions have never done anything but constrain.
I see bad stuff on the street all the time that I don't do anything about. I do bad stuff myself all the time. The goal is not to somehow be perfect - that's silly, that's naive. The goal is to just recognize there are choices in front of us, and to try to make better ones.
Words are capable of making experience more vivid, and also of organizing it. They can scare us, and they can comfort us.
My children not only inspired me to reconsider what kind of eating animal I would be, but also shamed me into reconsideration.
I will never come around to the idea of an anthropomorphic God. I'm also uncomfortable with the word 'God'... I'm agnostic about the answer and I'm agnostic about the question.
Every factory-farmed animal is, as a practice, treated in ways that would be illegal if it were a dog or a cat.
I often think about how my sons will come to know about September 11th. Something overheard? A newspaper image? In school? I would prefer that they learn about it from my wife and me, in a deliberate and safe way. But it's hard to imagine ever feeling ready to broach the subject without some impetus.
Jews have a special relationship to books, and the Haggadah has been translated more widely, and reprinted more often, than any other Jewish book. It is not a work of history or philosophy, not a prayer book, user's manual, timeline, poem or palimpsest - and yet it is all these things.
I am an on-and-off vegetarian. Sometimes on, mostly off. I think it is better to be a vegetarian but occasionally, the call of the hot dog overpowers my ethics.
There are two kinds of sculptures. There's the kind that subtracts: Michelangelo starts with a block of marble and chips away. And then there is the kind that adds, building with clay, piling it on. The way I write novels is to keep piling on and piling on and piling on.
The purpose of the Seder to my mind is to inspire conversations with your family about the human drama and hopefully transmit values to the next generation. I've always felt like this could be better.