To some extent I don’t want to be in control at times. I don’t want to feel that I can’t let myself go. I used to do coke in the ’80s—back when everybody was doing coke—and whenever I did I would try to give my possessions away. If we were snorting lines I’d say, ‘Do you want my coat? How about this teapot?’ That was kind of out of control. And there are people who fear this loss of control. They want to control things they can’t, so they often end up focusing on the little things—it’s a hedge against reality. But I do apply self-control in fiction. It has to do with leaving out the self. One of the reasons I love writing fiction is to inhabit an intelligence that’s not mine and to get the pleasure from those differences. I really feel that if I, Lynne Tillman, enter the story too much, it doesn’t leave space for the reader to experience something more interesting.

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