So the news that divorced fathers are to be denied a legal right to a relationship with their children, in the long overdue review of family law published this week, fills me with horror and despair.
I am in Boston right now, in fact, to do work at the New England Historical Genealogical Library, where I'm trying to finish up tracing my lineage back to the seventeenth century.
What happiness is there which is not purchased with more or less of pain?
Small change, small wonders - these are the currency of my endurance and ultimately of my life.
I've always seen myself in sentences. I begin to recognize myself, word by word, as I work through a sentence.
My verses stand gawping a bit. I never get used to this. They've lived here long enough.
Women are tenacious, and all of them should be tenacious of respect; without esteem they cannot exist; esteem is the first demand that they make of love.
When language fails, violence becomes a language; I never had that feeling.
Education is a private matter between the person and the world of knowledge and experience, and has little to do with school or college.
I wanted nothing less than to be a fiction writer when I was a kid. If you had told me I would be an artist or novelist when I grew up, I would have laughed in your face.
In retrospect, we could see that the 1950s had been a reactionary period in America of Eisenhower blandness, of virulent anticommunism, of the 'Feminine Mystique.'
The stories are there first, and they come from my experiences wandering around in the world. They will resonate into bigger things, forces sweeping the planet, themes and archetypes, but I'm not smart enough to have lucid integration of all that in my head as I'm writing.
Having to think so much about fictitious relationships that work or don't work, and with each relationship between characters managing to do one or other of those in its own peculiar way, I spend a lot of time thinking about relationships, real and imagined.
If you took away all pain, if everyone lived forever, everything would be bland, flat and boring; there would be no reason for art, music, newspapers, love because we would all be in a mono state of happiness.
The human crisis is always a crisis of understanding: what we genuinely understand we can do.
Ian Rankin's Rebus is the king of modern British crime fiction. He is dour, determined, and constantly falls foul of his seniors. For all this, we root for him. He is eminently loveable, a quixotic hero moving through the darker half of a Jekyll and Hyde Edinburgh.
The thematic bucket of vomit that I've been chained to since I was about 9 is the moral complexity of anti-heroism. I have always been interested in good people who do bad things for understandable reasons.
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