Memory is not particularly linear - it is associative, repetitive, subjective and porous. But the writer needs to convey disorder and dysfunction without making the novel itself disorderly or dysfunctional.
Occupy Wall Street means making Wall Street and the corporate power elite understand that the people affected by the binge of unregulated greed are not going away, and they are not going to give up.
The idea that you can live off the grid and just do your own thing is a very American idea - that you should be able to do your own thing, if you want to, if you're willing to pay the price for it. I think the price has gotten higher and higher.
The novel is about, for me, sustained and organized looking. I do think that people have a hunger for a sustained engagement, that concentration that the book can offer.
I don't have a lot of skills, but one thing I can do is, I can compartmentalize. I can make that a little world that I can go back to, so I can be a waitress, or I can be a teacher, and then go and work on my book.
People think it's suspect and self-indulgent to make art, and I don't think that's true. Some people think you should be busy making something that you can sell in the marketplace, and if nobody wants to buy it, it must be crap. And that's not true.
A good novel should be deeply unsettling - its satisfactions should come from its authenticity and its formal coherence. We must feel something crucial is at stake.
Although a great restaurant experience must include great food, a bad restaurant experience can be achieved through bad service alone. Ideally, service is invisible. You notice it only when something goes wrong.
I think it's harder than ever to be an artist. I think that you end up, especially as a middle-aged person, you pay such big consequences for saying, 'I'm just going to devote my life to making art,' or 'I'm going to devote my life to writing novels.' You end up with no resources.
My husband is a musician. He cooks and he's a chef but he also, he makes basement recordings. So many people in my life make basement recordings, so I feel very lucky, I'm surrounded by very creative people.
There's lots of things that can't make it in the world that are worth making. There are lots of great artists who never make it, there are lots of great writers who don't get published - is it still worthwhile? Aren't we glad people are still doing it?
I have to say that movies have as much impact on me as music. And that I learned as much about narrative from movies as I did from reading novels, how to arrange stories, how to juxtapose things.
I locate a great deal of the power of Occupy Wall Street in the name itself, 'Occupy Wall Street,' or '#OccupyWallStreet.' It works because the name contains everything you need to know: the tactic and the target. The name is also modular. You can create your own offshoot in your own city.