Don DeLillo: The Art of Fiction No. 135

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.

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Plus: Our complete collection of </em>Paris Review interviews</a>.

Real Talk With RuPaul

“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.”

Playboy Interview: Frank Sinatra

“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.”

Don't Cry for Tracy Morgan

“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.”

Mary Karr: The Art of Memoir No. 1

“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 stopped in the middle of the SAT to memorize a poem, because I thought, This is a great work of art and I’ll never see it again.”

Terrence Howard's Dangerous Mind

“He’d gotten hold of this notion that one times one doesn’t equal one, but two. He began writing down his logic, in a language of his own devising that he calls Terryology. He wrote forward and backward, with both his right and left hands, sometimes using symbols he made up that look foreign, if not alien, to keep his ideas secret until they could be patented.”

The Best of "What It's Like"

A few of our favorites from Science of Us’s ongoing interview series about unusual conditions and relationships.

  1. What It's Like to Date Your Dad

    Consensual incest between fathers and their daughters remains the least reported and perhaps the most taboo sort of relationship. Here’s the story of one girl, now 18, who plans to marry her father.

  2. What It’s Like to Be a 58-Year-Old Virgin

    Social and cultural norms attach a lot of stigma to a first sexual experience, meaning that honest discussions about being a virgin rarely happen. Here, a 58-year-old man describes living as a virgin for almost 60 years.

  3. What It's Like to Slowly Lose Your Eyesight

    Retinitis pigmentosa is a group of eye diseases that cause retinal degeneration. The condition usually first manifests as a loss of night vision, followed by diminished periphery eyesight and, eventually, blindness. It’s slow-moving, so an early diagnosis can mean years of uncertainty.

  4. What It’s Like to Have a Micropenis

    Heterosexual men who have penises less than three inches long share common strands of despair: a scarring first sexual encounter; paralyzing fears of intimacy; confusing ideas of normality gained from porn; resentment toward women; and desperate attempts to enlarge using painful pumps, expensive pills, or alternative medicine (none of which work).

  5. What It's Like to Date a Horse

    Zoophiles—those attracted to animals—can form deep, loving, and very nurturing relationships with their animal partners.