My first job was working in a dress shop in Los Angeles in 1940, for $7 a week.
I taught writing classes at the University of Pennsylvania for a number of years and I realized that all you can do is encourage people and give them assignments and hope they will write them.
I like to cook; it is, for me, a happy combination of mindlessness and purpose.
I don’t like to listen to music while I’m working.
I have a painter’s memory. I can remember things from my childhood which were so powerfully imprinted on me, the whole scene comes back.
My father brought me a box of books once when I was about three and a half or four. I remember the carton they were in and the covers with illustrations by Newell C. Wyeth.
In my early twenties, that’s when I really began to write. Before that, I was too busy working, keeping myself going.
I don’t know what makes a writer’s voice. It’s dozens of things. There are people who write who don’t have it. They’re tone-deaf, even though they’re very fluent. It’s an ability, like anything else, being a doctor or a veterinarian, or a musician.
There’s a certain amount of tyranny in all of us to some extent, and in some people it’s much more developed than in others. It’s a different balance which makes us all different.
I’ve always known a lot of very bad people, destructive, brutes of a certain kind. Then I’ve seen these lovely impulses and what not, and they’ve stayed with me and comforted me.