Sure, I went through my 'J'accuse' phase. I was so angry for so long, I could hardly have a conversation without getting into an argument. And it was only when I felt I could finally distance myself from my past that I began to write about what happened - not just to me, but to lots of young people. I think my story is a cautionary tale.
For some reason, I wrote about the bed we slept in when I was a kid. It was a half-acre of misery, that bed, sagging in the middle, red hair sticking out of the mattress, the spring gone and the fleas leaping all over the place.
If you have a class of 35 children, and they're all smiling, and there's one little bastard, and he's just staring at you as if to say 'Show me', then he's the one you think about going home on the train.
I think that's why you see so many Americans in Dublin look so sad: they are looking for the door through which they can begin to understand this place. I tell them, 'Go to the races.' I think it's the best place to start understanding the Irish.
If ever you're getting a dog, Francis, make sure it's a Buddhist. Good-natured dogs, the Buddhists. Never, never get a Mahommedan. They'll eat you sleeping. Never a Catholic dog. They'll eat you every day including Fridays.
He says, you have to study and learn so that you can make up your own mind about history and everything else but you can't make up an empty mind. Stock your mind, stock your mind. You might be poor, your shoes might be broken, but your mind is a palace.
Sit and quiet yourself. Luxuriate in a certain memory and the details will come. Let the images flow. You'll be amazed at what will come out on paper. I'm still learning what it is about the past that I want to write. I don't worry about it. It will emerge. It will insist on being told.
The bus stops at the O'Connell Monument and Uncle Pat goes to the Monument Fish and Chip Café where the smells are so delicious my stomach beats with the hunger. He gets a shilling's worth of fish and chips and my mouth is watering.
I appealed to my mother. I told her it wasn't fair the way the whole family was invading my dreams and she said, Arrah, for the love o' God, drink your tea and go to school and stop tormenting us with your dreams.
We were supposed to stay over in Boston, but when Scribners heard I'd won the Pulitzer, they told me to get on a plane - that Katie Couric wanted my body. And when Katie Couric wants your body, you get moving right away.
Even when I went to the Lion's Head in the Village, where all you journalists would hang out, I was always peripheral. I was never really part of anything except the classroom. That's where I belonged.