'As pilgrims we were captivated by the landscape as it changed around us, concerned with basic facts of where we would eat and sleep, and charged with the encounters and conversations that shaped each day. I had no desire for a fictional world.'
'There was no one in the once-a-monastery-now-a-restaurant but us — maybe the festival had booked the whole restaurant, which didn’t strike me as out of keeping with the general oddness of this globetrotting cohort of writers and translators.'
'Words are a re-ordering of dream, an attempt to drag down the superconscious into the good old conscious, where theatres are and publishing happens. But too much world-order and the dream-power is lost. I have to stop, dip back down into sleep.'
'A comic squib about domestic angst developed its own agenda and finally clinched itself in a line, ‘For they are in the world, and you are not’. The tribute to my late partner which I had struggled for two years to write. It had written itself. Or had it? '
'I do believe that, alongside metaphors, allegories and similes, a writer’s life itself is but another literary device to be incorporated into their work, particularly when their own lives start feeling like a cluster of meaningless oxymorons. Difficult? Enormously so. '
'The origin story I liked best was about Jimi Hendrix releasing a pair of parakeets in Carnaby Street. Hendrix spent several months in the city before his death at the age of twenty seven. ‘There’s no place like London’, he said. ‘It’s like a kind of a fairyland.''
'When I was asked to co-translate a doorstep on Joseph Beuys, then a monograph on choreographer Pina Bausch and her innovative dance theatre, I realised I was dealing with the great and good of the German postwar avant garde. Yet still winging it.'
'The green room can be daunting when you’re starting on your literary career but I’ve found it a source of conversation and news. After a solitary winter of writing, there’s nothing better than meeting others to discuss the vicissitudes of being a published author.'
'One of the reasons that people don’t realise how little money there is, is because — until they are published and they find out — writers don’t often put a number on it. It’s embarrassing, how little you got paid for the thing that you worked so hard on.'
'Julia Cameron states that writer’s block needs to be radically reconfigured as a sign that the writer has too many ideas, not too few. When I read that for the first time, it wasn’t so much a lightbulb moment as a full-scale Son et lumière in my head.'