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I was diagnosed with an early, early stage of prostate cancer. I was almost a vegetarian then. I was heading that direction. What pushed me over the edge, was the doctor who did the diagnosis. He said in a discussion about prostate cancer that he had never seen a vegetarian with prostate cancer. And this is not a holistic doctor, this is a regular, mainstream doctor. And I was just blown away.
You are confronted with abysses of time that are, in a way, unfathomable. You see a painting in charcoal of raindeer and it was left unfinished and somebody else finished it. But through radio carbon dating we know that the next one completed the painting 5,000 years later. You’re just blown away by the notion of passage of time. We have no relationship to that kind of depth of time.
When was about 16 or 17, I was living in Beaumont, Texas and Carlos Montoya came to Lamar College. I went to see him and I didn’t know what flamenco was. But when I saw him play, I was blown away that one man on one instrument could make all that sound. I’d learned a lot, but that made a big impact. I had intuition for it. In about three years I learned most of what I know now.
I’ve seen films that have made as much as $100, $200 million, but they’re not films. They’re images. They’re flashes. They’re many beautiful images, lots of things to look at. They capture you. But it’s not a film. It’s not something that involves you in a story. They go to cinema now to be blown away by the effects.
I went and looked at one of these great cathedrals one day, and I was blown away by it. From there I became interested in how cathedrals were built, and from there I became interested in the society that built the medieval cathedral. It occurred to me at some point that the story of the building of a cathedral could be a great popular novel.
Samuel Beckett is the person that I read the most of – certainly the person whose books I own the most of. Probably 800 or 900, maybe 1,000 books of just Samuel Beckett. By him, about him, in different languages, etc. etc. Notebooks of his, letters of his that I own, personal letters – not to me, but I bought a bunch of correspondence of his. I love his humor, and I’m always blown away by his syntax and his ideas. So I keep reading those.
I got on a plane. I remember when I got on the plane, the talk was, you know, they’re checking Dale out, that it’s more than what it looked like, but I still didn’t think it would be anything more than maybe some injuries. Then I landed at home and my phone just lit up. I started getting those messages.I mean, I was blown away. I couldn’t believe it. I was just in shock.