In terms of America, I think any profound consideration is bound to return us to the notion of twins because, though you certainly can contend there are many Americas, our history has been binary from the beginning, with its hairline fracture down the country's center between what American has wanted to be and what America has been. That fracture is slavery, of course. To some extent it's still slavery, in that collectively we refuse to come to grips with the American fact of slavery.

Steve Erickson

The form is always integral to the expression of the theme or to the sheer telling of the story, and sometimes the right form is apparent to me from the outset and sometimes it isn't.

Steve Erickson

By the late 70s conservatism was becoming more corporate on the one hand, more theocratic on the other. In reaction to the 60s, conservatism was more about order than freedom, more about conformity than singularity.

Steve Erickson

It became inescapable that as conservatives were wrong about people of color, they were also wrong about women. They were wrong about gay people. The only individual freedoms they seemed to get exercised about were the freedom to make a profit and the freedom to own a gun.

Steve Erickson

Strip away the morphing landscapes and rips in the space-time continuum, and my stories are about things that novels have always been about: love and sex and identity and memory and history and redemption.

Steve Erickson

There are millions of white Americans today who still can barely bring themselves to acknowledge that the Civil War, with its twin Americas locked in a death match, was about slavery. They'll argue it was about economics, and they're right only because one of those economies was a slave economy. They'll argue it was about culture, and they're right only because one of those cultures was a slave culture.

Steve Erickson

Being a man of taste and sophistication, the 80s were objectively, quantifiably, empirically, diagram-it-on-a-blackboard the worst decade in the history of recorded music.

Steve Erickson

When L.A.’s schizophrenia between Dreamland and Utopia was becoming socially manifest, the United States, which was always a place, went to war with America, which was always an idea.

Steve Erickson

The last thing I want is that sense of artifice - rather I want the reader drawn into the story and lost in it and vested in it. So the emotional connection is everything, albeit a connection on my terms.

Steve Erickson

With a few exceptions like Kraftwerk, most great 20th century Western music is in some way American-based. And the great paradox of America, the paradox that distills America, is that this greatest of American contributions to humanity, this American contribution that probably has influenced more people around the world for the good, that probably has brought more people around the world unqualified joy, was born of America's greatest evil, slavery. Or one of the two great evils anyway, counting the European extinction of those who were on the continent first.

Steve Erickson

One of the basic philosophical tenets of conservatism - which says that the more power devolves from the federal government to the states, the greater individual freedom grows - is just flatly contradicted by crucial junctures in the country's life, most conspicuously in the 1860s and 1960s, when it's been the federal government that's interceded against the states to secure individual freedom.

Steve Erickson

To the extent that I've ever understood postmodernism - and I'm sure there are people out there who do, but I'm not one of them - one of its distinguishing traits is the story's awareness of its own artifice, and how that awareness becomes part of the story. And if that's right, then I have no idea how I ever got lumped into postmodernism except that I believe, since I was first published, people just haven't quite known where else to put me.

Steve Erickson

There have been times I thought that when I got a certain point in the story, a certain character was going to do a certain thing, only to get to that point and have the character make clear that he or she doesn't want to do that at all. That long phone conversation I thought the character was going to have? He hangs up the phone before the other person answers, and twenty pages of dialog I had half written in my head go out the window.

Steve Erickson

I think for the foreseeable future we have to disabuse ourselves of any ideas of unifying, or coming together, or all getting along. I don't think we're going to reconcile the America that elected the first African American president with the America that just elected a president avidly endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan - I'm not sure I even want to reconcile the two.

Steve Erickson

Is the humanism intuitive or labored over?, the answer is: Yes. It begins intuitively, it becomes the reason for writing the thing, and then it's to be considered and fine-tuned and even calculated.

Steve Erickson

While a particularly deft sense of irony may be one of the tools of great storytellers, I think it's also true that if irony serves as a retreat from an emotional engagement that you're overly concerned is uncool, that's a failure of nerve.

Steve Erickson

The material dictates the approach. I tell the stories in the way that feels natural to tell them. Certainly the last thing I want is to be "difficult."

Steve Erickson

I was raised a right-wing Republican and was about eighteen when I had to admit to myself that in regards to the great domestic crucible of the day, civil rights and racial justice, conservatives were on the wrong side historically and morally, and that it took too much intellectual and psychological jujitsu to pretend otherwise. I didn't want to pretend anymore; I wanted to be on the right side.

Steve Erickson

One of the reasons I'm not so keen on people calling me an "experimental" writer is that it suggests the work is about the experiment, when it's always the opposite - any "experimentation" is dictated by the material.

Steve Erickson

I have members of my immediate family, and my wife's immediate family, who voted for Donald Trump, and now there's this gulf that I have no interest in bridging however much I love those people. It's almost like the Civil War.

Steve Erickson

Out of the house and on my own, I faced the fact I didn't much like who I was. I didn't like my judgmentalism; I didn't like my absolutism. I didn't like my repression of natural empathy, my pinched lack of emotional generosity. How I had been thinking politically had less to do with what was wrong with the world and more to do with what was wrong with me, with my fears and insecurities, failings, weaknesses.

Steve Erickson