In my teaching, I try to expose my students to the widest range of aesthetic possibilities, so I'll offer them stories from Anton Chekhov to Denis Johnson, from Flannery O'Connor to A.M. Homes, and perhaps investigating all that strange variation of beauty has rubbed off on me. Or perhaps that's why I enjoy teaching literature.
I'll read pretty much anywhere and anytime, but for a while now, I've really enjoyed reading on flights, especially the longer hauls, when I'm unplugged from everything and can completely immerse myself in the world of a book and submit happily to its rhythms, perspectives, ideas.
I'm interested in people who find themselves in places, either of their choosing or not, and who are forced to decide how best to live there. That feeling of both citizenship and exile, of always being an expatriate - with all the attendant problems and complications and delight.
Even though I went to Exeter and Yale, and I enjoyed all the trappings of those places, I think at the same time - and maybe it's because I'm an immigrant kid and not white - there was always this other consciousness; that is, I was conscious of everything that was going on.