Q. Much of your writing focuses on music. In one interview, you pointed to an early interest in music writing as the locus of your desire to “figure out” good writing.
Yeah. Actually, my brother was a big influence here. He was the first person I ever heard talk about a piece of art in a deeply critical way — critical not in the negative, but in the analytical sense. He was just a student of pop music from an early age. I don’t know what tripped that in him, but it was his thing. We would sit down and go through Beatles chord books together. It wasn’t just a case of rocking back and forth in front of the speaker and saying, “Isn’t this brilliant.” It was saying, “Look at this fucking bridge, look at what they did here. That’s why this is so much better”: the mechanics of it. And he and I would argue a lot. He was an early opponent. So, yes, I definitely think I was delving into and parsing music before writing, at least on a conscious level.