Andre Dubus III
Shyness has a strange element of narcissism, a belief that how we look, how we perform, is truly important to other people.
I was always a sensitive, sweet kid, but I got brutalized and I became brutal. And frankly, I don't think it was my natural makeup. I don't think its anyone's natural makeup to be a violent brawler.
Years later I would hear my father say the divorce had left him dating his children. That still meant picking us up every Sunday for a matinee and, if he had the money, an early dinner somewhere.
I think the deeper you go into questions, the deeper or more interesting the questions get. And I think that's the job of art.
I truly believe the art's larger than the artist. Who cares about John Steinbeck? I care about the Joad family.
Writers have to be careful not to confuse personal attention with the attention that's going towards the book.
As a matter of writing philosophy, if there is one, I try not to ever plot a story. I try to write it from the character's point of view and see where it goes.
I feel that writers think with their noses to the ground, and the dark stuff kind of comes to me more, even though I really am sort of an upbeat guy. It's an honest descent into darkness. And you can't have the joy without the grief - it's why we listen to Mozart's 'Requiem.'
I got a degree in sociology, didn't read much fiction in college, and I was a pretty political, left-wing type of guy. I wanted to do some kind of work in social change and make things better for the poor man, and I was very romantic and passionate about it.
I really think that if there's any one enemy to human creativity, especially creative writing, its self-consciousness. And if you have one eye on the mirror to see how you're doing, you're not doing it as well as you can. Don't think about publishing, don't think about editors, don't think about marketplace.
I was really surprised at the success of 'House of Sand and Fog,' because it is so awfully dark. Believe it or not, when writing it, I never had the word 'tragedy' in my head - I wasn't trying to write a dark book at all.
I work out four days a week in the off-season, and in the warm, running weather months, I do five days. A push/pull regime of weightlifting, cycling, and the occasional Saturday or Sunday run with my oldest son, even if it's cold out.
I'm one of those writers who can't talk about what they're working on. The entire four years I was writing 'House of Sand and Fog,' my wife never saw a word of it. I just have to keep it in the womb, and then everyone can have a crack at it.
I've had a lot of glamour come my way in the last 10 years - you know, movie stars and mansions and red carpets and trips to Europe and crazy stuff I never would have imagined - and I look at them as if I'm the bartender in the corner of the room. They've never gone into my psyche. I look at them with distance, and wonder.