"What are we supposed to do when the analytic voices on our shoulders intervene too quickly and start attacking every impulse or idea in its cradle by announcing that it's simply not original enough, not arresting enough, not good enough? Well, as far as I'm concerned, it's not just, as a famous writer once famously suggested, a matter of lowering our standards. It's also a matter of remembering that we need to reconnect with the notion of this sort of creation as play."
"At one point I was writing in my family's hometown in rural Italy and thereby flummoxing my relatives, who had no idea why a healthy man would stay inside the house for hours on end on a sunny day. One afternoon I heard one relative outside my window ask another, "Is Jim working or playing?" And the other said, "I don't know." And it's occurred to me since that that's an indeterminacy to which I should be aspiring. Because as far as we're concerned, when we're doing what we love most, there no longer should be any distinction."
(Jim Shepard's collection, Like You'd Understand Anyway, was a 2007 National Book Award finalist.)