'I find myself, in this hopeless longing for the inanimate, in the company of Nabokov, who, target shooting at a fair, won a porcelain pig. He writes: ‘I abandoned it on the shelf at the hotel when I left town. In doing so, I condemned myself to remember it'.'
'I felt like I was taking charge of my destiny. Several novels down the line, the idea of autonomy feels naive. In reflecting on how writing changes the writer, I realise I’ve drifted into how being published changes the writer: a Freudian slip.'
'I write with the idealistic ambition to change the world. I see my work as little pieces of activism, whether it’s raising awareness of issues, or getting people to think differently. Often you don’t know how you feel about a situation until you write it. '
'The writer needs mechanisms to maintain enthusiasm and minimise worry so that he can take full advantage of those moments that afford the freedom to create. This can also change the writer, requiring mental resources.'
'Ultimately, life-writing needs to move outside the self if it is to find a place in the world; beyond the experience of catharsis for the writer, the stories must resonate with readers, who recognise them as their own.'
'I've written books that deal with post-traumatic stress, with mental health issues, with homelessness and missing persons, suicide and survival guilt, death and grief; and writing about these things has made me feel very differently about them.'
'Nina was not me. She just had my story. She was her own woman and she changed me, at the darkest time of my life. She gave me hope, because she always looked forward. '
'Some poems change you more than others. Anne Sexton said that in poems, you write what you don't know yet. There is a moment of turn, a flick as the points change, and you speed off.'
'Whether I became the writerly type as a result of writing, or whether I just subconsciously adopted that outsider-ish persona because I thought it glamorous, I'm not sure. But I seem to be stuck with it now.'
'The way it has changed me the most is that I have, out of necessity, overcome my natural shyness and learned to face large crowds of people, and take control of a room with my voice.'