If you really could fit God in a file, you wouldn't need to believe in God, you know, you'd just go get the file like a box of corn flakes off the shelf.
The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.
Love each other or die.
I used to be a classic workaholic, and after seeing how little work and career really mean when you reach the end of your life, I put a new emphasis on things I believe count more. These things include: family, friends, being part of a community, and appreciating the little joys of the average day.
You're not a wave, you're a part of the ocean.
We all lose somebody we care about and want to find some comforting way of dealing with it, something that will give us a little closure, a little peace.
People are only mean when they're threatened, and that's what our culture does. That's what our economy does.
You have to work at creating your own culture.
I believe the biggest themes of life are put into the best focus when held up against the very sharp light of mortality.
If you're always battling against getting older, you're always going to be unhappy, because it's going to happen anyhow.
I believe that you live on inside the hearts and minds of everyone you've touched while you were here on earth.
People who don't normally read make an exception for my books, possibly because they're short.
Anyone who tries to write a memoir needs to keep in mind that what's interesting to you isn't necessarily interesting to a reader.
I had a very high-grade publisher tell me I was incapable of writing a memoir.
This is a story about a man named Eddie and it begins at the end, with Eddie dying in the sun.
My own father didn't talk a lot about feelings or emotions.
I don't know about Heaven or Hell, but I do know that we are visited all the time by the spirits of those who affected us in life.
Detroit is a place where we've had it pretty tough. But there is a generosity here and a well of kindness that goes deep.
For better or for worse, I've watched people die in front of me. I see how they are in the end. And they're not cynical. In the end, they wanna hold somebody's hand. And that's real to me.
We all have two things in common, no matter who we are: We were born and we are going to die.
Sentiment is wherever you go.
Nobody's favorite movie is some dark, dysfunctional slasher story. Everybody's favorite song is a sentimental song. So why all of a sudden is it bad to be sentimental in books?
If you are fully alive to the prospect of dying, you really start reprioritising your life.
Critics have a problem with sentimentality. Readers do not. I write for readers.
For years I wrote in my basement. More recently I graduated to one floor above, an office with all my books and music and - ta da! - a window.
In a newspaper, you only have so much room. It teaches you the value of getting to the point, of not pampering yourself with your glorious writing. I've always been much more interested in one powerful sentence that stays with you. That's my style.
You have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn't work, don't buy it.
I would lying if I said I would laugh in the face of death.
Mortality means you don't have forever to work things out. You can live your life unexamined but then on the last day you're going to think: 'I've left things a little late.'
I was a workaholic. I never stopped. I lived in fifth gear. I bought cars. I invested in stocks. I made more money than I had ever imagined.
I find interesting characters or lessons that resonate with people and sometimes I write about them in the sports pages, sometimes I write them in a column, sometimes in a novel, sometimes a play or sometimes in nonfiction. But at the core I always say to myself, 'Is there a story here? Is this something people want to read?'
Got an hour or two? That's all it takes for one of my books.
Whenever you have two characters in a book, whether it's a novel or nonfiction, you run the risk that the reader is going to like one more than the other. They're going to read one chapter and say, 'I can't wait to get back to the other guy.'
A memoir should have some uplifting quality, inspiring or illuminating, and that's what separates a life story that can influence other people.
I seem to have very few casual readers, only passionate and appreciative ones.
For as spiritual as some people think my books are, I've never really dealt with religious things.
I've always said I have one skill. That skill - if I have it at all - is storytelling.