If dysfunction means that a family doesn't work, then every family ambles into some arena in which that happens, where relationships get strained or even break down entirely. We fail each other or disappoint each other. That goes for parents, siblings, kids, marriage partners - the whole enchilada.
When people suffer, their relationships usually suffer as well. Period. And we all suffer because, as the Buddha says, that's the nature of being human and wanting stuff we don't always get.
When I got sober, I thought giving up was saying goodbye to all the fun and all the sparkle, and it turned out to be just the opposite. That's when the sparkle started for me.
I'm always astonished by the confidence my readers put in me.
Childhood was terrifying for me. A kid has no control. You're three feet tall, flat broke, unemployed, and illiterate. Terror snaps you awake. You pay keen attention. People can just pick you up and move you and put you down.
There are women succeeding beyond their wildest dreams because of their sobriety.
Both my parents were agnostic. My mother was kind of a Buddhist. She had some spiritual tendencies, but they were kind of flaky - New Agey, you know? Which is partly why I'm suspicious of that sort of thing. I'm skeptical of any spiritual practice that doesn't involve other people and doesn't involve some sort of consistent tradition.
People who didn't live pre-Internet can't grasp how devoid of ideas life in my hometown was. The only bookstores sold Bibles the size of coffee tables and dashboard Virgin Marys that glowed in the dark.
I was 40 years old before I became an overnight success, and I'd been publishing for 20 years.
The failures of other genres to provide an emotional connection with some of their characters and narratives gives memoir a toehold.
Every poem probably has sixty drafts behind it.
I do have a really good memory. I mean, like, I can remember all the phone numbers of everybody on the street I grew up on.
I don't have a copy of my books, and the degree to which I never read them is profound. I never look.
I find a great deal of comfort and care in my faith and prayer. I'd sooner do without air than prayer.
I get about five memoirs per week in my mailbox, and few of them inspire anything but a desire to pick up the channel changer.
I'm doomed to act like myself, even when it's inconvenient!
It's completely through prayer that I came to believe in God. I just sensed a presence south of my neck.
Nobody sounds good writing about your divorce, let's face it.
For days on end, I avoid the Web, never logging in until about two or three, after I've written all morning. On a good week, I don't go online till after Wednesday, so four or five days might lapse without my checking e-mail.
I think being tortured as a virtue is a kind of antiquated sense of what it is to be an artist. It comes out of that Symbolist idea, back to Rimbaud and all that disordering of the senses and all of that being some exalted state. When I've been that way, I've always been less exalted than I would have liked.