Does your work feel seminal when you are making it or only after, through others' interactions?
Nothing is as absorbing as writing... finding a path, figuring things out as you go. I think a book happens first in your head, completely and perfectly, but it can take forever to find it again in a tangible form and realize it for other people. The interactions that happen afterwards are nice but that's a completely different experience.
Does patience factor into your progess?
Once I commit to writing a project or book, it takes a long time sometimes to find the right pitch. I really need to empty out my life for a while and have plenty of unstructured time. Eileen Myles says a writer needs to roll around in time like a dog rolls around in a smell. Paradoxically, it takes patience to waste time, but it's the only way to let something arrive.
What are the key ingredients to a great career?
A great career is just the ability to go on working. Doing this requires a certain amount of confidence and momentum, not to mention arranging your life financially and logistically. Everyone does this differently. When I was 25, I was obsessed with the question, "Will I still be an artist when I'm 40?" And the answer would have been no if I hadn't married someone who was able to support me for a long time until I figured out ways to make enough money myself. The ideas people have about "great careers" usually turn out to be mythic. There are a lot of ups and downs, no matter the circumstances.