Both depression and anxiety disorders, for example, are repeatedly described in the media as 'chemical imbalances in the brain,' as if spontaneous neural events with no relation to anything outside a person's brain cause depression and anxiety.

Every time I finish a book, I say to an imaginary god that I do not believe in, 'Please let me live to write another one.'

Far more women read fiction than men, and because of this, novels have become marginalised as serious texts.

My parents were gigantic influences on me. I had a deep hunger to impress my father, who was a professor and an intellectual. I wanted his approval.

The future is, of course, imaginary - an unreal place that I create from my expectations, which are made from my remembered experiences, especially repeated experiences.

Novelists embody plural selves all the time. What are characters, after all, if not other selves?

People who grow up with two or more languages understand that each can express certain aspects of reality better than the other.

The third-person or 'objective,' static, reductive models used in most science are important and yield significant results, but they have their limitations.

Intellectual curiosity about one's own illness is certainly born of a desire for mastery. If I couldn't cure myself, perhaps I could at least begin to understand myself.

The computer model will be replaced by an organic model, in which the brain-mind is embodied - part of a whole, dynamic, living organism: one driven by emotional forces, not only cognitive ones.

If I have open time, and I'm in Manhattan, I'll just walk to wherever I'm going, even if I could get there faster on the subway. I just love walking the streets of New York.

In August of 2002, I survived a car accident. Although I can still see the van speeding toward us, I cannot bring to mind the crash itself - only its aftermath.

My greatest pleasure is spending time with my family: my husband and daughter, but also my mother, my three sisters, and their families.

Creativity has always depended on openness and flexibility, so let us hope for more of both in the future.

There is no reason we should expect young children to enter the nocturnal darkness of sleep and dreams without help.

I have a longstanding fascination with visual art. I do, in fact, draw as well, as I did in 'The Summer without Men.' I also write essays about visual art.

Writing isn't a job so much as a compulsion. I've been writing since I was very young because for some strange reason, I must write, and also because when I write, I feel more alive and closer to the world than when I'm not writing.

I published my first poem in 'The Paris Review' in 1980.

Only time will tell in what ways Freud was prescient and in what ways he failed to understand how the mind functions. For example, no scientist and very few psychoanalysts still embrace Freud's death instinct.

It's hard to penetrate characters who are very cut off and lack empathy and to do it with sympathy. It's so easy to make a damaged character repugnant.

Our great cultural error is to assume that 'truth' arrives only through reductive theories.

I was 13 when I had my first bout of insomnia. My family was in Reykjavik, Iceland, for the summer, and day never really became night.

My feeling is, when you are writing an essay, you don't make anything up. This may be a very Protestant notion, and I'm aware of the fact that memory is fallible, that if I had access to films or some absolute documentary evidence of what happened, it might look different; we get confused and fuzzy.

When I don't get enough sleep, I am cranky, vulnerable to headaches, and my concentration is poor.

I garden. It's very relaxing to me.

I knew I wanted to be a writer at 13. Before that, I told everyone I was going to be an artist.

Every mental state is also physical.

The history of fiction is about family - an inexhaustible subject for literature. We are creatures driven by emotions that are on high display in intimate relations - inside the family.

American mass media culture, with its celebrities, shopping hysteria, sound bites, formulaic plots, received ideas, and nauseating repetitions, depresses me.

Sleep resistance, bouts of insomnia, nightmares, night terrors, crawling into bed with parents in the middle of the night - all these are so common among children, it seems fair to call them 'normal.'

There was a film class in my high school in Northfield, Minnesota, which was very unusual. I saw my first Buster Keaton film there, aged about 15. It made a gigantic impression on me.

The idea that skiing might not be fun, might not be for everyone, had never occurred to me. Where I come from, the sport signified pleasure, nature, family happiness.

I bought myself a rubber brain, familiarized myself with its many parts, listened intently, and read more. In fact, I read obsessively, as my husband has told me repeatedly. He has even suggested that my rapacious reading resembles an addiction.

It's not as if I've been unlucky. My books have been published and reviewed. I haven't lived through terrible literary suffering!

The brain-mind is not a computer, and regarding it as one has led to a variety of theoretical dead ends.

I found myself fascinated by neuroscience, attended a monthly lecture on brain science at the New York Psychoanalytic Institute, and was invited to become a member of a discussion group devoted to a new field: neuropsychoanalysis.

Perception plays a vital role in the diagnosis of bipolar illness. Symptoms are perceived through the categories of psychiatric medicine at a given moment in history, categories which are continually shifting and being named or renamed.

I watched 'Holiday' in college, and that was when I had my first fantasy of being Katharine Hepburn, standing at the top of the staircase in a huge Hollywood mansion.

Having children is one of the most passionate and involving bits of business in human life.

There is this assumption that much of what I write is about my life, and that simply is not true.

Every time the DSM prepares for a new edition, there are countless groups lobbying to get their particular mental illness recognized by the diagnostic manual. Surely, this is a social and cultural phenomenon.

The relationship between the imagined and the real is more complicated than people imagine.

When I was an impoverished graduate student, I would sometimes spend $20 or $30 on a T-shirt or accessory I didn't need or even particularly want. What I craved was the purchase, not the thing itself. Of course, a sense of not being deprived may fill an emotional void without ruinous consequences.

If something's not working, it's wonderful to have a reader you can trust to say, 'Actually, you've gone off the deep end here'.

I have a tendency to face my bad fantasies in my books.

Rage has such focus. It can't go on forever, but it's invigorating.

Henry Miller is a famous writer whose work has fallen out of fashion, but I strongly recommend that readers who don't know his work pick up a book and experience this writer's zealous, crazy, inventive, funny, sexy, often delirious prose.

The brain is an immensely complex organ, and many mysteries remain. Exactly how brain and mind or soma and psyche are related is one of them.

I have found that all of my memories seem to need a place and that a good part of what we think of as explicit memory has to do with location.