A creative life cannot be sustained by approval any more than it can be destroyed by criticism.
Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea for ever.
Regard yourself as a small corporation of one. Take yourself off on team-building exercises (long walks). Hold a Christmas party every year at which you stand in the corner of your writing room, shouting very loudly to yourself while drinking a bottle of white wine. Then masturbate under the desk. The following day you will feel a deep and cohering sense of embarrassment.
You know that sickening feeling of inadequacy and over-exposure you feel when you look upon your own empurpled prose? Relax into the awareness that this ghastly sensation will never, ever leave you, no matter how successful and publicly lauded you become. It is intrinsic to the real business of writing and should be cherished.
The postgrad at least knew enough to know that he would never know enough, lying under the stars which hung from the inky sky like bunches of inconceivably heavy, lustrous grapes, dusted with the yeast of eternity.
If the government announced that it was going to allocate a vast tranche of education funding purely to the pupils at the best public schools, there would be a national outcry - and yet this is precisely what the Olympics represents in terms of sports funding.
It might be an idea for all literary critics to read the books they analyse aloud - it certainly helps to fix them in the mind, while providing a readymade seminar with your audience.
Some people have human muses - mine is a city. I feel a startling ambivalence towards London, but for better or worse my work has come utterly to depend upon it.
The main differences between contemporary English and American literature is that the baleful pseudo-professionalism imparted by all those crap M.F.A. writing programs has yet to settle like a miasma of standardization on the English literary scene. But it's beginning to happen.
I'm an anarchist. I'm implacably opposed to heirarchical systems of power and control. I also mistrust crowds, as they often operate according to their lowest common denominator. In terms of evolutionary psychology, the crowd is very close to a herd of stampeding wildebeest.
From time to time, as if heaven-sent to annoy, someone will ask me if I'm self-disciplined when it comes to my work. I usually look witheringly at them and snarl, 'What do you think?' I mean, how do you imagine anyone writes a quarter of a million words a year for publication?
The future continues to preoccupy me as a reliable source of hopes, fears and anxieties, but increasingly the present seems to have no outstanding qualities of its own, being merely a way-station through which events travel to the vast shadow lands of the past.
With spectacular events taking up so much of the available anxiety quotient, we need to be constantly reminded of the more workaday threats to our mortality - threats that, while they may also be functions of human error, have become so ubiquitous that we've begun to apprehend them as natural phenomena.
People tend to think of their lives as having a dramatic arc, because they read too much fiction.
Continuous present is all we have, and stream of consciousness - which in a novel is arguably just as artificial as the stilted dialogue that you get in most conventional novels. They're all stratagems to try to get closer to the texture of lived life.
You don't need to know this - but here goes: due to some acquired infantilism, I feel compelled to fall asleep listening to the radio. On a good night, I'll push the frail barque of my psyche off into the waters of Lethe accompanied by the midnight newsreader - on a bad one, it's the shipping forecast.
My novels tend to come about from a fusion of two big ideas, creating a critical mass that then fissions, throwing off hundreds of other particles, riffs, tropes and characters.
As a bookish adolescent, I sopped up texts as if I were blotting paper and they were fluid.
As the render is to the building, and the blueprint to the machine, so sport is to social existence.
I've said it before - and I'll say it again: it always seems to me that we come to know our same-sex parents through the bodily and the involuntary; through a kind of fossicking of our own physical strata. As we come to resemble our fathers, so we re-encounter the individual who reared us.