Appetite knows what it craves, without cerebral embellishment. It tends not to waste any time laying hold of its tools. That was the thing I had recognised here: appetite. I recognised it precisely because, in a context like this, it was so unfamiliar. It had forced me to rule out everything else. And there was a second reason for my recognition, which because unprecedented was not recognition at all, but astounding discovery: Martha's face told me. I saw appetite there...
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My youth was the most stubborn, peremptory part of myself. In my most relaxed moments, it governed my being. It pricked up its ears at the banter of eighteen-year-olds on the street. It frankly examined their bodies. It did not know its place: that my youth governed me with such ease didn't mean I was young. It meant I was divided as if housing a stowaway soul, rife with itches and yens which demanded a stern vigilance. I didn't live thoughtlessly in my flesh anymore. My body had not, in its flesh, fundamentally changed quite so much as it now could intuit the change that would only be dodged by an untimely death, and to know both those bodies at once, the youthful, and the old, was to me the quintessence of being middle-aged. Now I saw all my selves, even those that did not yet exist, and the task was remembering which I presented to others.
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If I'm not in the dead heat of working on something, I can end up spending tons and tons of time on the Web, and I hate it. I feel the same shame I did in grad school when I was pretty much addicted to reruns of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'. I wish someone would make the Web just go away. Just remove it from the earth.
I've never written a book with an outline or a predetermined theme. It's only in retrospect that themes or subjects become identifiable. That's the fun of it: discovering what's next. I'm often surprised by plot developments I would not have dreamed of starting out, but that, in the course of the writing, come to seem inevitable.
It's pathetic, but I don't really remember my first time reading 'The Great Gatsby.' I must have read it in high school. I'm pretty sure I remember it being assigned, and I generally did the reading. But I don't remember having a reaction to the book, even though I loved literature, and other works made a lasting impression on me at that age.
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