We writers are shy, nocturnal creatures. Push us into the light and the light blinds us.
When you're writing there's a deep, deep level of concentration way below your normal self. This strange voice, these strange sentences come out of you.
I don't see how English as we use it in Europe can be revivified. It's like Latin must have been in about A.D. 300, tired and used up. All one can do is press very hard stylistically to make it glow.
I don't know if there is a personal identity. We all imagine that we are absolute individuals. But when we begin to look for where this individuality resides, it's very difficult to find.
For memory, we use our imagination. We take a few strands of real time and carry them with us, then like an oyster we create a pearl around them.
I'm full of self-doubt. I doubt everything I do. Everything I do is a failure.
How I envy writers who can work on aeroplanes or in hotel rooms. On the run I can produce an article or a book review, or even a film script, but for fiction I must have my own desk, my own wall with my own postcards pinned to it, and my own window not to look out of.
I have this fantasy. I'm walking past a bookshop and I click my fingers and all my books go blank. So I can start again and get it right.
Most crime fiction, no matter how 'hard-boiled' or bloodily forensic, is essentially sentimental, for most crime writers are disappointed romantics.
Why does the past seem so magical, so fraught, so luminous? At the time it was just, ugh, another boring bloody day. But, to look back on, it's a day full of miracles and light and extraordinary events. Why is this? What process do we apply to the past, to give it this vividness? I don't know.
With the crime novels, it's delightful to have protagonists I can revisit in book after book. It's like having a fictitious family.
I live in Dublin, God knows why. There are greatly more congenial places I could have settled in - Italy, France, Manhattan - but I like the climate here, and Irish light seems to be essential for me and for my writing.
I never went to university. I'm self-educated. I didn't go because I was too impatient, too arrogant.
I'd given up Catholicism in my teens but something of it stays with me. I try to create the perfect sentence - that's as close to godliness as I can get.
I read Nietzsche when I was a teenager and then I went back to reading him when I was in my thirties, and his voice spoke directly to me. Nietzsche is such a superb literary artist.
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