Could you describe your media diet?
I'm a media bulimic. Most of the time I avoid reading newspapers and magazines, but every six weeks or so I take $25 to a newsstand, and I buy everything from highbrow to lowbrow, from tabloids like The National Enquirer and the New York Post to serious newspapers like The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Times of London. I also buy magazines like Vanity Fair, Harper's, The Atlantic Monthly, Time, and Newsweek. Then I just binge-read for two days. It might seem eccentric, but this system keeps me abreast of the issues without feeling inundated with extraneous information. The really important information shakes through to the top. The less important information just falls away, allowing me to focus on what's essential.
But you can't rely on the information you read in the
Just the opposite. The tabloid newspapers are being read by a huge portion of the American population. I'm interested in what regular Americans are reading and buying. I'm a mainstream writer, and I write mainstream movies. I need to know what regular people are thinking about, so the information I read in tabloids is really quite key. Besides, I'm wary of being informed simply by media I agree with. It's just too one-sided.
What magazines do you subscribe to?
Only one: Morgan Horse. As you can tell by the name, it's a magazine about Morgan horses, which I own and ride. It's heaven.
Which artists do you most admire?
My favorite artist, the one who has had the most impact on me as a person and as an artist, is Tim Wheater, one of the founding members of the Eurythmics. I've found that listening to his music makes me want to create in response. Somehow he raises questions that I want to find answers for. Since we've met, we've recorded a poetry album together, This Earth: A Planetary Mass. What are your favorite films?
I usually prefer old movies, but I thought [Martin Scorsese's] Kundun was a film of exquisite transparency. The artistry was of such a high level that people didn't even know it was there. The British filmmaker Michael Powell is my all-time favorite. I especially like his film I Know Where I'm Going, about fate, destiny, and the supernatural. Almost all my favorite films are about those topics.
Which books and authors do you consider essential?
I love Pablo Neruda. I like a tiny little book published in 1964 by Ernest Holmes called Creative Ideas.
Do you watch television?
I used to write for Miami Vice, so it's not like I consider myself above television. It's just that I don't have much time to spend watching it. I prefer to spend my time writing. When I do watch TV, I tend to watch shows about music, like David Saltz's series on the Beatles. I also like shows on animals.
What is your most creative space?
I don't need a specific place to write. I can write anywhere. I write longhand, and all I need to do is carry paper and something to write with. One of the tools I try to teach people in my classes is flexible creativity. It works for me. I recently moved from rural New Mexico to urban New York City. It's a different energy, but I'm still able to do my work.
If you could make one law, what would it be?
I'm not interested in making laws. I'd rather make a wish. My wish would be that we would all be true to ourselves, that we would realize that each of us is important. If we could all act with that in mind, we would have a wonderful world and incredible artÛand we'd all be a great deal more jolly.