There's nothing to be gained from passive observance, the simple documenting of conditions, because, at its core, it sets a bad example. Every time something is observed and not fixed, or when one has a chance to give in some way and does not, there is a lie being told, the same lie we all know by heart but which needn't be reiterated.
Our town was rigid in many ways, in terms of the uniformity of things, the colors of skin, the makes of cars, the lushness of the lawns, but on top of that it was sort of a blank canvas so-and again, I guess this is true of any child-I was ready to quickly accept the sudden and total substitutions of all I knew to be true.
[After this interview Eggers is off to a meeting in midtown Manhattan. Then come more appointments and the following day a long drive to Pittsfield, Mass., where he will work a fund-raiser for Word Street, a tutoring center inspired by 826 NYC. His black travel bag sits at my feet like a dog begging to go for a walk.] I'm trying to cut down on travel, ... But with things like this, I really don't want to say no.
The world, every day, is New. Only for those born in, say, 1870 or so, can there be a meaningful use of the term postmodernism, because for the rest of us we are born and we see and from what we see and digest we remake our world. And to understand it we do not need to label it, categorize it. These labels are slothful and dismissive, and so contradict what we already know about the world, and our daily lives. We know that in each day, we laugh, and we are serious. We do both, in the same day, every day. But in our art we expect clear distinction between the two...But we don't label our days Serious Days or Humorous Days. We know that each day contains endless nuances - if written would contain dozens of disparate passages, funny ones, sad ones, poignant ones, brutal ones, the terrifying and the cuddly. But we are often loathe to allow this in our art. And that is too bad...
Not that there seems to be any appropriate place to bury someone, but these municipal cemeteries, or any cemetery at all for that matter, like the ones by the highway, or the ones in the middle of town, with all these bodies with their corresponding rocks - oh it's just too primitive and vulgar, isn't it? The hole, and the box, and the rock on the grass? And we glamorize this process, feel it fitting and dramatic, austerely beautiful, standing there by the hole as we lower the box. It's incredible. Barbaric and base.
I have had friends who I decided were not good friends, were people who brought more trouble than happiness, and thus I have found ways to create more distance between us. Now I have the same thoughts about God, my faith, that I had for these friends. God is in my life but I do not depend on him. My God is not a reliable God.
[M]y mother read a horror novel every night. She had read every one in the library. When birthdays and Christmas would come, I would consider buying her a new one, the latest Dean R. Koontz or Stephen King or whatever, but I couldn't. I didn't want to encourage her. I couldn't touch my father's cigarettes, couldn't look at the Pall Mall cartons in the pantry. I was the sort of child who couldn't even watch commercials for horror movies - the ad for Magic, the movie where marionette kills people. sent me into a six-month nightmare frenzy. So I couldn't look at her books, would turn them over so their covers wouldn't show, the raised lettering and splotches of blood - especially the V.C. Andrews oeuvre, those turgid pictures of those terrible kids, standing so still, all lit in blue.