When I saw him speak here before, I could look into the audience and see people who look like him laughing at things I didn't know the references to. There is an intimacy between Chicago writers and the population of this city that I find really wonderful. It's warm and it's welcoming. It's a little like going to a Baptist church. They know when to say 'Amen'.
I want hard stories, I demand them from myself. Hard stories are worth the difficulty. It seems to me the only way I have forgiven anything, understood anything, is through that process of opening up to my own terror and pain and reexamining it, re-creating it in the story, and making it something different, making it meaningful - even if the meaning is only in the act of the telling.