"You Better Not Cry" author Augusten Burroughs treats fans to a second Big Think interview this week, just in time for the holiday season. Famous since his 2001 bestseller "Running With Scissors" as a memoirist of the humorous, painful, and bizarre, Burroughs shares his view of Christmas as an essentially tragic holiday with a tiny nougat of joy inside the bitter candy coating.

Asked about the relationship between tragedy and comedy in his writing, Burroughs called humor "a life raft in terrible, terrible circumstances" but admitted that reliving some of the experiences he recounts in his books "is not fun." Dark as all this may sound, Burroughs is no pessimist by nature; he expressed unqualified enthusiasm for the future of writing online, calling the Internet humanity's "most profound and beautiful achievement."

Burroughs also discussed the art of memoir during his first Big Think interview, in June 2008.