I'm not writing non-fiction. I don't feel anything about me as a kid was unique. Except that I had more interest in being alone and using my imagination.
With every book, you go back to school. You become a student. You become an investigative reporter. You spend a little time learning what it's like to live in someone else's shoes.
Your memory is a monster; you forget - it doesn't. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you, or hides things from you - and summons them to your recall with a will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you!
If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.
You can't learn everything you need to know legally.
Titles are important; I have them before I have books that belong to them. I have last chapters in my mind before I see first chapters, too. I usually begin with endings, with a sense of aftermath, of dust settling, of epilogue.
It's not very interesting to establish sympathy for people who, on the surface, are instantly sympathetic. I guess I'm always attracted to people who, if their lives were headlines in a newspaper, you might not be very sympathetic about them.
Of all the things you choose in life, you don't get to choose what your nightmares are. You don't pick them; they pick you.
You don't want to dwell on your enemies, you know. I basically feel so superior to my critics for the simple reason that they haven't done what I do. Most book reviewers haven't written 11 novels. Many of them haven't written one.
I grew up around books - my grandmother's house, where I lived as a small child, was full of books. My father was a history teacher, and he loved the Russian novels. There were always books around.
As many times as I've seen 'The Merchant of Venice,' I always take Shylock's side. For all the hatred that guy is shown, he has a reason to hate in return. He's treated cruelly. And it's tragic that he learns to be intolerant because of what others do to him.
And I find - I'm 63, and my capacity to be by myself and just spend time by myself hasn't diminished any. That's the necessary part of being a writer, you better like being alone.
I grew up without a father, who was kept a mystery to me. There was a sense of uprootedness, things being one day here and the next day not; a sense anything could happen. Then, all of a sudden, my mother met my stepfather, and her life became happier, and my life changed, my name changed.
Good habits are worth being fanatical about.
I do know where I'm going and it's just a matter of finding the language to get there.
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