Q: So you bought her the guitar, huh?
A: Yeah, I bought that old Gibson that sheís got. Yeah. It was a pawn-shop guitar. Back then I donít think I paid more than 40, 50 bucks for it. Now itís worth several thousand.
Q: So when you got off the bus from Southern California to New York City, had you been there, before?
A: Never. No. Had never been east of the Mississippi.
Q: What was your first day in New York like?
A: I got off the Greyhound in Times Square and I donít think I had more than 15 cents on me, so I saw this little place that said, ďFive dollars for blood.Ē And I went in there and did a blood donation and got five bucks and went out and bought a hamburger. That was the first thing I did.
Q: The fact that you didnít receive an extended formal education in writinghas that been an advantage to you?
A: In some ways yes, because Iíve been able to explore a lot of writing that Iím not sure I wouldíve gone into if Iíd been educated in itif it had been introduced to me through a class or a teacher or a scholar, Iím not sure Iíd have the same sense of attachment that I do now. Because I feel like the writers that Iím drawn to, the writers that I really cling to, are the writers who seem to be writing out of a desperate act. Itís like their writing is part of a survival kit. Those are the writers that I just absolutely cherish and carry with me everywhere I go. Because their writing means more to them than just puttiní out a book. Itís somethiní that has to do with their survival. Those are the guys Iím not sure I wouldíve discovered, had I been in a literature class. Maybe thatís not true. But I feel like I discovered them on my own. Itís a long list, but Beckett would probably be at the top of it. And César Vallejo. Borges. Thereís a ton of Ďem.
Q: How old were you when Beckettís Waiting for Godot famously fell into your hands?
A: Letís see, I was probably about 17, 18something like that. Iíd never seen anything quite like it. Iíd literally never seen anything on the page like it.
Q: Nothing that even looked like it.
A: Yeah. Exactly. I said, ďWhat is this?Ē And then I kept looking at it and kept looking at it, and read it over and over and over again, and it was definitely a spur, you know? I didnít want to imitate it at all. It had nothing to do with imitation. But it felt as though it gave me license to go ahead and try something on my own.