He remembered me from a brief email correspondence we had a couple years ago, because he's just that kind of person. His sincerity almost makes me weepy. He talked about ghosts, Trump, Huckleberry Finn, elevating the energy of a story, how "imagination" is a technical response to a technical problem, and how important/difficult it is to ensure all the "boxes" you've opened in your story are thoroughly explored, lest your reader notice you haven't explored one and "lose a bit of respect" for you.
"The truth is, you leap into something and then for (in this case) five years, you keep leaping, making tens of thousands of intuitive choices, but you’re not really sure why you’re making those choices, except that they seem, in the moment, to produce more beauty – and then, at the end, you look up and you’ve made something that is the sum total of all those choices, made over those many years. The wonderful thing, and the thing that keeps me writing, is the hope that the result is somehow better than you, the writer: more alert, kinder, funnier, more big-hearted, more big-minded, and that working on it has enlarged your view of things – made the world seem wilder and more confusing than before, albeit lovelier."