You do the right thing even if it makes you feel bad. The purpose of life is not to be happy but to be worthy of happiness.
If you had an essentially happy childhood, that tends to dwell with you.
People say you can't teach writing, but I think that's nonsense.
We shouldn't forget how terrifying untamed landscape was to early settlers. From their perspective, mankind was put here in the New World to conquer the wilderness.
Continuity is one of the things I like about New England.
Being a professional writer is not an easy way to make a living.
I like particular people, particular places.
I never planned on doing a book about Paul Farmer or his organization. I met him in Haiti when I was on a magazine assignment. It's almost like his story sort of fell in my lap.
The world doesn't make much sense to me generally. I don't feel like I'm good at that.
Memory is so much a part of imagination, so plastic, so wonderfully plastic.
I usually write about ordinary people and ordinary things, but Paul Farmer is the least ordinary person I've ever met... He's the leader of a small group of people who hope to cure a sick world, and I hope my book can help in some small way.
What interests me is trying to catch the reflection of the human being on the page. I'm interested in how ordinary people live their lives.
When I select a topic, it's usually a commitment of two to three years of my life.
At first, I spend about four hours a day writing. Toward the end of a book, I spend up to 16 hours a day on it, because all I want to do is make it good and get it done.
I tell beginning readers to read a lot and write a lot. If you want to write a book, find a subject that's really worth the time and effort you'll put in.