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Denis Johnson

I really enjoy writing novels. It's like the ocean. You can just build a boat and take off.

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When I'm writing for Esquire, my conscious thought is, I'm not writing for American Scholar.

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All the modern verse plays, they're terrible; they're mostly about the poetry. It's more important that the play is first.

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You're under pressure when you produce facts. You're working with facts in journalism, but you're under all kinds of formal constraints; there are expectations.

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What's funny about Jesus' Son is that I never even wrote that book, I just wrote it down. I would tell these stories and people would say, You should write these things down.

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I'd met a woman and I got married, but the money ran out right away. I hadn't had a job for seven months, and it just came over me that I was never going to work again. It hit me.

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I didn't finish the stories until we went to the Philippines and I got malaria. I couldn't work and I didn't have any money, but I had seven stories. So I wrote three or four more.

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I was probably 35 when I wrote the first story. The voice is kind of a mix in that it has a young voice, but it's also someone who's looking back. I like that kind of double vision.

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I think it's silly for anyone to think you could write under the influence, but if they'd like to think that, I'd like to keep the legend alive. Maybe I was under the influence when I wrote Jesus' Son and I just didn't know it.

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If you write fiction, you're by yourself. There are certain advantages to that in that you don't have to explain anything to anybody. But when you get in with others who share the loneliness of the whole enterprise, you're not lonely anymore.

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