On the unamed disaster in The Road:
On lengthy books:I don't have an opinion. At the Santa Fe Institute I'm with scientists of all disciplines, and some of them in geology said it looked like a meteor to them. But it could be anything—volcanic activity or it could be nuclear war. It is not really important. The whole thing now is, what do you do? The last time the caldera in Yellowstone blew, the entire North American continent was under about a foot of ash. People who've gone diving in Yellowstone Lake say that there is a bulge in the floor that is now about 100 feet high and the whole thing is just sort of pulsing. From different people you get different answers, but it could go in another three to four thousand years or it go on Thursday. No one knows.
[I knew it!]
People apparently only read mystery stories of any length. With mysteries, the longer the better and people will read any damn thing. But the indulgent, 800-page books that were written a hundred years ago are just not going to be written anymore and people need to get used to that. If you think you're going to write something like "The Brothers Karamazov" or "Moby-Dick," go ahead. Nobody will read it. I don't care how good it is, or how smart the readers are. Their intentions, their brains are different.
On what he writes:
I'm not interested in writing short stories. Anything that doesn't take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing.
I highly suggest reading the rest of the article and interview, "Hollywood's Favorite Cowboy."
Also in today's Journal is an article, "When Brevity is a Virtue," about a number of short story collections by established authors being published this season. I've been reading more short stories than usual lately, so I was especially interested to read the article's discussion of the place and purpose of the short story today. And it definitely got me interested in reading some of these upcoming collections, namely Alice Munro's Too Much Happiness. Hopefully there will be more great literary articles in tomorrow's Journal as well.