I swim in a sea of words. They flow around me and through me and, by a process that is not fully clear to me, some delicate hidden membrane draws forth the stuff that is the necessary condition of my life.
Yes, it seems we've got this mutant gene in our human personality that makes us susceptible to this same kind of mistake over and over again. It's really uncanny how we build these beautiful multicultural edifices and then allow this switch to be flipped and everybody goes, 'Oh, the other, get them out of here.'
All this is true and certain. But what I do not know is this: which home welcomed him, at the end. Whichever it was—the celestial English heaven of seraphim, cherubim and ophanim, or Kietan's warm and fertile place away in the southwest, I believe that his song was powerful enough for Joel to hear and to follow him there.
In any case, the manifesto states that a Jew is without honour from the day of his birth. That he cannot differentiate between what is dirty and what is clean. That he is ethically subhuman and dishonourable. It is therefore impossible to insult a Jew and from this it follows that a Jew cannot demand satisfaction for any insult.
He gave himself fully to the penitent life, fasting, praying, confessing his wickedness and execrating himself in public. He became a better man in the small matters of his days, an even better, wiser king in the great matters of state.
Inside, I gagged. The floor was awash with excrement. Blocked toilet bowls brimmed with sewage. The place looked as if it hadn't been cleaned in weeks. Nobody had noticed, because nobody who mattered ever went in there.
I write while my son is at school. At about 7:45 A.M., I walk him there, with the dogs, then walk them for another forty minutes or so, go home and chain myself to the desk a little before 9 A.M., and try not to be distracted until I hear my son plunge through the front door at about 3 P.M.
And he exercised uncommon tact with his men, meeting them where they stood, rather than demanding that they always be the ones accommodating themselves. I have learned over time that this quality is rare in any man, even more so in a leader.
I think probably the scaredest I've ever been was in Somalia. I arrived there when the episode that became known as 'Black Hawk Down' was still taking place. The Americans were still pinned down under fire. And everybody else was basically going the other way, and I was the only one putting my hand up for a flight in.
If somebody from the past doesn't rise up from the grave and start talking to me, I haven't got a book. I have to hear that voice, the voice of the narrator. How she sounds will tell me who she is, and who she is will tell me how she will act - and that starts the plot in motion.
How often it is that an idea that seems bright bossed and gleaming in its clarity when examined in a church, or argued over with a friend in a frosty garden, becomes clouded and murk-stained when dragged out into the field of actual endeavor.
I was so shy. I used to cross the street so I wouldn't even have to talk to my relatives, much less strangers. That's not shy, that's wise. But I found that that when you had a journalist's notebook in your hand it wasn't really you, you see.