I suppose there must be idiots who dream of signing deals with publishers while fully intending to drink martinis in cool bars or ride around on skateboards. But the actual writers I know are experts in neurotic self-torture. Every page of writing is the result of a thousand tiny decisions and desperate acts of will.
I wished to trust, and so I trusted. When events did not please me, my dreams reworked them.
...as if, one lover gone, I was opening up for an immediate replacement. Smack habit, love habit - what's the difference? They can both kill you. For the bus journey I fell in love with a woman who smiled at me. The motion of the bus made her thick mop of fair curls tremble. We talked about desperados. 'I am fatally attracted to them', I said. 'In fact, I probably am one'.
Courts are supposed to be places of reason. But this, of course, is a fantasy. I mean, there is reason being used as a technique. But courts, in fact, are baths of emotions.
But I now think what I was doing, in a completely unconscious way, was getting off the turf where my husband and I might be rivals. We were both working in fiction... so I look back and I see that I consciously vacated the contested ground.
Well, I'm at some kind of crossroads in my life and I don't know which way to take. It's not about money, I mean, because I'm established enough now as a writer to get a reasonable advance if I wanted to do fiction.
People demand a lot of the justice system and they demand things that it can't deliver.
It's disturbing at my age to look at a young woman's destructive behaviour and hear the echoes of it, of one's own destructiveness in youth.
Life's fairly excruciating. Painful things happen. Every now and then, you drag yourself out of the stream and stand on the bank gasping for air. I think that's how I work.
Maybe this is pathetic, but I still dread producing a book that doesn't earn back its advance. I hate obligations that are financially foggy.
The rain began again. It fell heavily, easily, with no meaning or intention but the fulfilment of its own nature, which was to fall and fall.
We were in a great, seething moment in the 1970s. There was a new Labour government and everything seemed full of hope... But, as we got older and we saw how much women's behaviour contributed to what was wrong, we stopped being able to see ourselves purely as.
I tell you one thing that makes me feel I haven't wasted my life, and that is I've got some grandchildren. You can't overestimate the kind of opening to the future that gives a person, I think.
I don't understand my own sporadic collapses into passivity. Perhaps I never will.
I like poking my nose into other people's lives.
It's very shocking, I think, for people caring for the dying to realise how unsaintly they feel, how much anger is mixed up with their grief. In fact, often I think the anger that they feel is a form of grief; it's a kind of raging against what's happening.
While I was writing 'The Spare Room,' I thought, 'I'm going to look really bad in this book - there's no redeeming this kind of awful, ugly emotion', and I thought, 'I'm not going to change it. I'll call the character 'Helen' and admit to those feelings.' I think this is a reason why people write.
Now, I - for several years while I was researching this book, I felt quite obsessed by thoughts about sentencing, punishment, how judges arrive at their decisions.