Earned a bachelor's at 27, then an M.F.A. that is still completely unused and in mint condition, never taken out of the box.
I guess it's ridiculously romantic, but I wanted to be a full tilt, sink-or-swim writer.
As a high-school drop-out, I knew I wanted to write, but I wasn't overly confident that I was going to be writing anything serious. I was happy enough with the idea that I could be a penny-a-word guy and survive.
I have always loved short stories. I have been at least as influenced by the short story masters as I have been by novelists.
I had gone to enlist in the Navy, but they had a long waiting list and no need for high-school dropouts.
There are people so alienated from the mainstream of American culture that it's like a parallel universe. They don't expect anything but trouble from the square world. Every time they interact with that world, they're given a ticket, sent to jail, drafted. It's never good. So they live by a separate value system.