Paul Auster‘s Hand to Mouth is one of my favorite starving-artist memoirs, and it’s nice to see it come up in Ed Champion‘s interview with Auster—whose new novel, Man in the Dark, is just out. Champion asks Auster whether his fixation on the specific cost of things speaks to the money worries he chronicled in his memoir. To which he says:
[T]he only good thing about making money is that you don’t have to think about money. It’s the only value. Because if you don’t have it, you’re crushed. And for a long period in my life, I was crushed. And so maybe this is a reflection of those tough years. I don’t know. I don’t know…. I’m generous. I give good tips. It’s just — the way I live my life, ironically enough, is: I don’t want anything. I’m not a consumer. I don’t crave objects. I don’t have a car. We don’t have a country house. We don’t have a boat. We don’t have anything that lots of people have. And I’m not interested. I barely can go shopping for clothes. I find it difficult to walk into stores. The whole thing bores me so much. I guess the only thing that I spend money on is cigars and food and alcohol. Those are the main expenses.