I look at my father, who was in many ways an unhappy person, but who, not long before he got sick, said that the greatest source of satisfaction in his life had been going to work in the company of other workers.
When I finally gave up any hope of doing anything representative of the American family, I actually seemed to have tapped into other people's weirdness in that way.
I feel as if I'm clearly part of a trend among writers who take themselves seriously - and I confess to taking myself as seriously as the next writer.
I was a late child from my parents, so I grew up surrounded by people a lot older than me. I think even when I was 21, I felt like I was a 70-year-old man.
I was unwise enough to actually mention this in public a few times, and in fact to point out that there were two versions of the book now. One of them had somebody else's name on the cover, one had my name on the cover.
It's just a matter of writing the kind of book I enjoy reading. Something better be happening at the beginning, and then on every page after, or I get irritated.
If you're interested in how people behave, if you're interested in the way they talk about themselves, the way the conceive of themselves, it's very hard to ignore drugs nowadays, because that is so much part of the conversation.
I used to think it was hard to write, and I still find the process more or less unpleasant, but if I know what I'm doing it rattles along, then the rewrite whips it into shape rather quickly.
I wrote two plotted books, got some of the fundamentals of storytelling down, then... it's sort of like taking the training wheels off, trying to write a book that's fun in the same way without relying on quite such mechanical or external beats.
It's not surprising to see in my own work, looking back, and in the work of some of my peers, an attention to family. It's nice to write a book that does tend toward significance and meaning, and where else are you sure of finding it?