It's very easy to fool yourself that you're working, you know, when you're really not working very hard. I mean, I'm very lazy. So for me, I would always have an excuse, you know, to go - quit early, go to a museum, you know. So I do everything I can to make myself remember this is a job. I keep a schedule.
The ballet embodies the notes of music.
And sometimes you almost feel like you can see the notes dance up there on the stage.
I used to work very long hours. Then I started to realize that the stuff that I was writing in the late afternoons, I was generally throwing out. So I quit earlier than I used to.
Nobody believes this, but I write very fast.
You come in off the street, through the doors of the theater.
You sit down. The lights go down and the curtain goes up. And you're in another world.
If things are going well, if the writing's coming along, I jump out of bed happy. And if the previous day has been bad, I get out of bed disgruntled.
Long Island is shaped the way it is largely because of Robert Moses.
Long Island is a perfect example of how political power shapes people's lives every day.
I sometimes feel that if your book sells more than 20 years, then there's something in it that you can say, gee, I did something that endures, that's timeless.
Sometimes during a ballet I'll look around and see all these rows of intent faces, concentrating on this beautiful thing up on the stage.
The moment the curtain rose on that first ballet, I knew something wonderful and new had come into my life. I can still see the first scene. The ballet was Divertimento No. 15.
If it's coming near the end of a chapter and I'm really getting into it, I tend to get up earlier and earlier, just because I'm excited to get to work.
My predictions are notably inaccurate.
I never went to a ballet until I was 45 years old. I don't know why.
I think President Obama has done more than he is given credit for.
I deliberately made an effort not to become an expert on the ballet.
If you really want to show power in its larger aspects, you need to show the effects on the powerless, for good or ill - the human cost of public works. That's what I try to do, show not only how power works but its effect on people.
At the ballet, you really feel like you're in the presence of something outside the rest of your life. Higher than the rest of your life.
As you get older, you sometimes feel that it's harder and harder to get something new and wonderful to come into your life.
I really wanted there to be something in my life that I enjoy just for the beauty of it.
I was trying to learn about Lyndon Johnson when he was young and creating his first political machine in the Texas hill country. I moved there for three years. You had to learn that world.
I like new ballets because they're totally new.
As you get older, new experiences are harder and harder to come by, so it's pretty great to have a new experience.
Everyone believed the Senate could not really be led.
It used to take so long to rise up through seniority. In two years Lyndon Johnson is assistant leader of his party. In four years he is the leader of his party.
Lyndon Johnson, as majority leader of the United States Senate, he made the Senate work.
The Senate is an unknowing world.
The New York City Ballet is obviously speaking to a whole new generation and bringing it the same wonder and beauty that it brought previous generations.
Ballet is sort of a mystery to me. And I don't want to unravel that mystery.
Every president has to live with the result of what Lyndon Johnson did with Vietnam, when he lost the trust of the American people in the presidency.
Most Sundays, with the exception of football Sundays, I work, because I don't take days off as long as I'm working on something that's supposed to be all in the same mood.
I never wanted to do biography just to tell the life of a famous man.
I always wanted to use the life of a man to examine political power, because democracy shapes our lives.
Robert Moses wasn't elected to anything.
We're taught that in a democracy power comes from being elected. He had more power than anyone, and he held it for 48 years.
Everything seems to be going faster and faster.
It's really harder to create something that endures. The New York City Ballet has succeeded in doing that.
You know, my first three or four drafts, you can see, are on legal pads in long hand. And then I go to a typewriter, and I know everybody's switching to a computer. And I'm sort of laughed at.