Wired: Speaking of writers of color, I saw you say that one of your ambitions was to be a Dominican Samuel R. Delany or Octavia E. Butler.
Díaz: Did I actually say that? That’s so deranged! I think that was one of my younger ambitions. Sort of like when you used to have a dream about going to Shaolin Temple. Me trying to be Octavia Butler or Samuel R. Delany really is like the 40-year-old guy wistfully thinking about how if only he had run away when he was 14 and gone on a tramp steamer off to Hong Kong, and from there slipped across the border into the new territories and gone up to Shaolin Temple and practiced his wushu, my god, if only I’d done that I’d be already the absolute master killer. Let me tell you something, that tramp steamer has sailed and gone, my friend. I’ll be lucky if I can write another two books before I’m in the grave.