I wanted to play centerfield for the Boston Red Sox. I still do!
I read a great deal….lots of sports fiction, but also other stuff such as the Tom Swift series, and the books of Jack London.
I don’t think it occurred to me that you could “be a writer” until high school.
When I was in 8th grade I was in a school where they had dances every Friday night. I didn’t have a clue what to do, so my neighbor, a girl named Faith, came over to our house. She brought my brother and me down to our basement and gave us dancing lessons every Friday night. This was embarrassing enough, but one day my young siblings came downstairs and spied on us. I don’t think I ever felt so mortified.
I loved playing in the woods behind our house in Marshfield, Mass. (I write about this in my memoir, Marshfield Dreams: When I Was a Kid.) My friend and siblings and I had acres to explore and, in the summer, unlimited time to explore it.
I was in the Boy Scouts so I had some wonderful Scoutmasters. But my father was the person I most looked up to.
I liked most things about everything about school—even school lunches.
My handwriting was horrendous. All my teachers pointed this out to me.
Playing sports, collecting baseball cards and marbles.
Photography. I grow orchids, too. I take great pride in being able to re-bloom them. A few years ago I grew giant pumpkins. That was a blast! It was gi-normous! Well, it was kind of big. But it was fun growing it.
I’ve had lots of different jobs and learned a lot from each one. I was a clam digger (this experience would form the basis of my book The One O’Clock Chop). I didn’t have any worst job—I found something to like, and something to learn, in each one.
I’m just finishing The Confession by John Grisham (about capital punishment). He’s such a good, clean writer. Grisham really knows how to write an uncluttered sentence.
Book party! Woot woot! One of my friends came with her husband. The two of them came in; each grabbed a book, and started reading the book right in the middle of the party!
I have a lovely office with some nice windows looking out into the woods.
I wanted to capture the magic of my childhood. I lived in Marshfield, Mass.; from the time I was three until the time I was thirteen. Those two dates created “bookends” (a natural beginning, and a natural ending) for the memoir.
I explored some of that in my first novel, Fig Pudding. Worst thing: it was hard to have any privacy. When I was little, my parents often put of us three kids in the bathtub at the same time! But one the other hand, it was fun having so many kids. There was rarely a dull moment. We weren’t rich (not even close to it) but on Christmas morning Santa Claus brought each kid one really nice present. There were nine children, so the living room looked like a toy store.
Writing a book is a long, lonely journey. It’s hard to go “underwater” for the year it takes to write a book. I find it hard to stay interested for that long without getting much feedback from anybody else.
The zany things babies do (like suck on their toes). Also: Will Ferrell and Melissa McCarthy.
Jackson Browne. I got to meet him about a year ago, and he was every bit as wonderful in person as he is in his songs.
Read, watch sports on TV, maybe go to the gym.
Hooked On A Feeling by B. J. Thomas.
Randall McMurphy in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.
Not really—I have many, many books I adore for many different reasons.
I love Mad Men. And I’ve watched so many Law And Order episodes I swear I could write one myself. My kids have gotten me into Walking Dead—very good (and very gruesome).
Hmmm I have to be careful here…. I guess I’d want an intelligent person with whom I could talk about many different kinds of things. Someone I could be myself with. My wife JoAnn would fit the bill nicely.
I want to go back to Tonga in the South Pacific. I spent three months there while I was in college. I lived with a family. I’d love to look up and reconnect with some of those people.
I’d love to go back to the 1945 and see what it was like when the Allis defeated Japan and World War Two was finally over. If I did, I could meet my parents when they were sixteen years old! I’d also love to be in Greenwich Village in the late 50s and meet some of the Beat poets and writers like Jack Kerouac.
“The bigger the issue, the smaller you write.” Novelist Richard Price told me that, and I’ll always be grateful. Look for little details that reveal big issues.
I think I used to believe that you’re a born skier, a born artist, a born athlete. I wish someone had told me the truth: You can do ANYTHING you want, so long as you stick to it.
Not really. If I do get stuck I go outside and do something completely different. Physical activity has a way of getting the creative juices flowing again.
Intense emotion and a sense of realism: this is (or could be) really happening. Plus, a love of language. I strive to write sentences that are both beautiful and powerful.
I can’t imagine. My wife has asked me: “When will you retire from writing?” I tell her: “I love to write. I plan to keep writing until I’m too feeble to drag myself to my writing desk.”
I really like kids. It’s a privilege to write for them. I’m interested in how people act—not what they should do but what they really do. I have always had a happy disposition.
My sense of humor. Also, I am a kind person.
I don’t use deodorant. Never have. I don’t seem to perspire very much. (I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that nobody stands close to me on the subway, hee hee…)
Being father of four terrific boys.
Ski. Also, I love to sing so I wish I could play piano or guitar (I haven’t entirely given up that dream).
Although I have published close to 50 books, I really am a humble person. I realize that there are other writers who are more important than I am, and I’m okay with that. I try not to have illusions about myself. But I’m happy about who I am and what I have accomplished.