When I’m writing my neural pathways get blocked. I can’t read. I can barely hold a conversation without forgetting words and names. I wish I could wear the same clothes and eat the same food each day.
My father was an autodidact. It wasn’t a middle-class house. Shopkeepers are aspirant. He paid for me to go to private school. He was denied an education – he had a horrible childhood. He got a place at a grammar school and wasn’t allowed to go.
Life is a very orderly thing but in fiction there is a huge liberation and freedom. I can do what I like. There’s nothing that says I can’t write a page of full stops. There is no ‘should’ involved although you wouldn’t know that from literary reviews and critics.
I’m a lapsed Quaker. I don’t go to meetings any more. But I’m very drawn to Catholicism – all that glitter. I’d love to be a Catholic. I think it would be fantastic – faith forgiveness absolution extreme unction – all these wonderful words. I don’t think anyone who was ever born a Catholic hasn’t died a Catholic no matter how lapsed they are.
Fairy tales opened up a door into my imagination – they don’t conform to the reality that’s around you as a child. I started reading when I was three and read everything but I wanted to be an actress.
I think about death a lot I really do because I can’t believe I won’t exist. It’s the ego isn’t it? I feel that I should retreat into a better form of Zen Buddhism than this kind of ego-dominated thing. But I don’t know I mean I want to come back as a tree but I suspect that it’s just not going to happen is it?
The cult of the individual is killing us. I think Twitter signals the death of western civilisation but people have been saying that since Demosthenes.