One curious thing about growing up is that you don't only move forward in time; you move backwards as well, as pieces of your parents' and grandparents' lives come to you.
We don't need lists of rights and wrongs, tables of do's and don'ts: we need books, time, and silence. Thou shalt not is soon forgotten, but Once upon a time lasts forever.
If you can't think of what to write, tough luck; write anyway. If you can think of lots more when you've finished the three pages, don't write it; it'll be that much easier to get going next day.
For that reason you can't write with music playing, and anyone who says he can is either writing badly, or not listening to the music, or lying. You need to hear what you're writing, and for that you need silence.
Being in love was like China: you knew it was there, and no doubt it was very interesting, and some people went there, but I never would. I'd spend all my life without ever going to China, but it wouldn't matter, because there was all the rest of the world to visit.
I have maintained a passionate interest in education, which leads me occasionally to make foolish and ill-considered remarks alleging that not everything is well in our schools.
Adam and Eve are like imaginary numbers, like the square root of minus one... If you include it in your equation, you can calculate all manners of things, which cannot be imagined without it.
And before I'd got to the end of the first paragraph, I'd come up slap bang against a fundamental problem that still troubles me today whenever I begin a story, and it's this: where am I telling it from?
Men pass in front of our eyes like butterflies, creatures of a brief season. We love them; they are brave, proud, beautiful, clever; and they die almost at once. They die so soon that our hearts are continually racked with pain.
I had passed through the entire British education system studying literature, culminating in three years of reading English at Oxford, and they'd never told me about something as basic as the importance of point of view in fiction!
What I couldn't help noticing was that I learned more about the novel in a morning by trying to write a page of one than I'd learned in seven years or so of trying to write criticism.