"Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia."
"What I work to dispel in my students is the prevailing myth that inspiration comes like a light bulb over the head, a lightning stroke to the spleen, and all we have to do as artists is wait for the lightning and then transcribe it. I think instead work comes from hundreds or thousands of hours of working through things, from pouring lots and lots of observation and thought into every paragraph, every dead-end, every false start. And I believe the magic of a good short story, in particular, comes from the compression of so many days of thought into a space that can be experienced by a reader in an hour or so. So for me it comes from spending a lot of time in the language of whatever subject I’m interested in at the moment, shells or snow or radio or violin making or whatever, and working slowly, backtracking out of lots of dead-ends, toward a concerted and unified vision."