I guard my memories of my lost one jealously, keep them securely under wraps, like a folio of delicate water colours that must be protected from the harsh light of day.
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 sometimes think that I might be slightly autistic. There might be a syndrome that hasn't been named. I don't seem to see the world in the same way that most people I know see it. They don't seem to be baffled by it.
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.
Death is such a strange thing. One minute you're here and then just gone. You'd think there would be an anteroom, a place where you could be visited before you go.
When I started writing, I was a great rationalist and believed I was absolutely in control. But the older one gets, the more confused, and for an artist I think that is quite a good thing: you allow in more of your instinctual self; your dreams, fantasies and memories. It's richer, in a way.
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.
I want my art to make people look at the world in a new way. I mean, what's the point of the art of writing if it doesn't take you into the mysterious?
We're constantly losing - we're losing time, we're losing ourselves. I don't feel for the things I lost.
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.
We writers are shy, nocturnal creatures. Push us into the light and the light blinds us.
You can't write about fantasy without being ridiculous.
You know, artists don't really have all that much experience of life. We make a huge amount out of the small experience that we do have.
When young writers approach me for advice, I remind them, as gently as I can, that they are on their own, with no help available anywhere. Which is how it should be.
I always think that if you know somebody's name then there's something slightly fraudulent about that person. Otherwise we wouldn't have heard of him or her.
When fans of mine meet me, I can see the disappointment in their eyes. Every artist knows of this phenomenon.
My work is frequently described as cold, which is baffling, since it seems to me embarrassingly, shame-makingly, scandalously warm. I find my work filled with sentiment, and I can't imagine why people find it cold.
All novels must be autobiographical because I am the only material that I know. All of the characters are me. But at the same time, a novel is never autobiographical even if it describes the life of the author. Literary writing is a completely different medium.
Office life is very, very strange. It's like no other way of living. You have an intimacy with people who you work with in the office, yet if you meet them on the streets, you both look the other way because you're embarrassed.
I know some of my memories are made up and they are far more powerful than the things that actually happened. For example, I always remember my brother posting me a copy of 'Dubliners' from Africa, but he says he never did.
When I say I don't like my own work, that doesn't mean it isn't better than everyone else's.
With crime fiction, you have to write a half-dozen before they catch on.
I've been wrestling with Kafka since I was an adolescent. I think he's a great aphorist, a great letter writer, a great diarist, a great short story writer, and a great novelist - I'd put novelist last.
I suppose it's possible that a writer would have feeling for his characters, but I can't see how, because writing is such a meticulous, intricate, technical business. I wish I could say that I love my characters and that frequently they take over the book and run away with the plot and so on. But they don't exist.
Writers are just like other people, except slightly more obsessed.
No two things the same, the equals sign a scandal.
When I finish a sentence, after much labor, it's finished. A certain point comes at which you can't do any more work on it because you know it will kill the sentence.
How flat all sounds are at the seaside, flat and yet emphatic, like the sound of gunshots heard at a distance.
And indeed nothing had happened, a momentous nothing, just another of the great world's shrugs of indifference.
Where I went, no one could follow. Yet someone managed to hold my hand.
A man is not much if he can't depend on himself, and nothing if others can't depend on him.
Sleep is uncanny, I have always found it so, a nightly dress-rehearsal for being dead.
Perhaps all of life is no more than a long preparation for the leaving of it.
All I wanted was to be left alone. They abhor a vacuum, other people. You find a quiet corner where you can hunker down in peace, and the next minute there they are, crowding around you in their party hats, tooting their paper whistles in your face and insisting you get up and join in the knees-up.
Given the world that he created, it would be an impiety against God to believe in him.
If I was asked to say what was the greatest invention of human beings, I would say the sentence.
All art at a certain level is entertainment. We go to a tragedy by Sophocles to be entertained.
Dogs are dim creatures, do not speak to me of their good sense-have you ever heard of a team of tomcats hauling a sled across the frozen wastes?
With the crime novels, its delightful to have protagonists I can revisit in book after book. Its like having a fictitious family.