"You Become Confident That You Have the Answer."
An interview with Joan Didion.
An interview with Joan Didion.
“We have a lot in common. We go to the same shrink.”
“Oh, I think I do overshare, and I sometime marvel that I do it. But it's sort of - in a way, it's my way of trying to understand myself. I don't know. I get it out of my head. It creates community when you talk about private things and you can find other people that have the same things. Otherwise, I don't know - I felt very lonely with some of the issues that I had or history that I had. And when I shared about it, I found that others had it, too.”
“Let me state, in all frankness, that I have never harbored personal doubts or a lack of confidence. That may be good or it may be bad. But if you see your actions as objectively correct, then not having doubts is good. I must admit that pride may have influenced my attitudes from time to time. But once I came to a conclusion as to what was right, I had great personal confidence in those ideas.”
A conversation about beauty with an 86-year-old mathematician.
“The final evaluation of a play has nothing to do with immediate audience or critical response. The playwright, along with any writer, composer, painter in this society, has got to have a terribly private view of his own value, of his own work. He's got to listen to his own voice primarily. He's got to watch out for fads, for what might be called the critical aesthetics.”
The author on Lolita, his work habits, and what he expected from his literary afterlife.
“You try to learn as much about the people as you can. I try never to give psychohistory. There is no one truth, but there are an awful lot of objective facts. The more facts you get, the more facts you collect, the closer you come to whatever truth there is. The base of biography has to be facts.”
“I believe that all the survivors are mad. One time or another their madness will explode. You cannot absorb that much madness and not be influenced by it.”
“Things don’t just flow out of your brain. It’s not like, Hey, I’m brilliant. Show up, paper right here, bam, another banger. No—you sit and you struggle with yourself and you stop cutting your hair. I’m not cutting my hair right now. You stop shaving, like I’m not shaving right now. You remember that you can fail. I’ve failed several times. The fact that everybody else don’t see that don’t give me the right to not see it.”
“This baby was unviable, basically. That’s what they say. They say that the baby is ‘incompatible with life.’”
“It’s the American view that everything has to keep climbing: productivity, profits, even comedy. No time for reflection. No time to contract before another expansion. No time to grow up. No time to fuck up. No time to learn from your mistakes. But that notion goes against nature, which is cyclical.”
We have a rich literature. But sometimes it’s a literature too ready to be neutralized, to be incorporated into the ambient noise. This is why we need the writer in opposition, the novelist who writes against power, who writes against the corporation or the state or the whole apparatus of assimilation. We’re all one beat away from becoming elevator music.
An interview with the novelist.
“I made a pact with myself when I was 15 that if I was going to live this life, I'm only going to do it on my terms, and I'm only going to do it if I'm putting my middle finger up at society the whole time. So any time I've had yearnings to go, "Aw, gee, I wish I could be invited to the Emmys," I say, Ru, Ru, remember the pact you made. You never wanted to be a part of that bullshit. In fact, I'd rather have an enema than have an Emmy.”
The Supreme Court justice on gay rights, the problem with consensus, and the Devil.
A conversation about God, anxiety, and the monkey.
“I don’t know what other singers feel when they articulate lyrics, but being an 18-karat manic-depressive and having lived a life of violent emotional contradictions, I have an overacute capacity for sadness as well as elation. I know what the cat who wrote the song is trying to say. I’ve been there—and back. I guess the audience feels it along with me. They can’t help it. Sentimentality, after all, is an emotion common to all humanity.”
Fargo, Damages, Cheers, and Leslie Nielsen’s fart machine.
An interview with Tiger Woods as he turns 40.
“I peaked at 11, to be honest with you.”
An interview with Michael Schur, who wrote for Saturday Night Live and The Office before co-creating Parks and Recreation and Brookyn Nine-Nine.
“I faced death and all that shit. It’s my responsibility to come back and come back strong. It’s going to take more than a Walmart truck to take that gift away. I can’t wait to make you all laugh. Especially you, Mike. And I already did that today. So all is good.”
Interviews with a receptionist, a factory worker, and others about life on the job.
A conversation about leadership, Grantland, regret, and the President’s favorite conspiracy theories.
"If I had been a straight-A student my whole life and had rapped about Jesus coming back to save us all, I wouldn’t get no media. The motherfuckers wouldn’t give a fuck about me. But since I’m telling the truth, and been through what I’m stressing and know what I’m talking about, I’m a threat."