What you are pursuing is meaning — a meaningful life. There’s the hap — the fate, the draw that is yours, and it isn’t fixed, but changing the course of the stream, or dealing new cards, whichever metaphor you want to use — that’s going to take a lot of energy. There are times when it will go so wrong that you will barely be alive, and times when you realize that being barely alive, on your own terms, is better than living a bloated half-life on someone else’s terms.

Reading things that are relevant to the facts of your life is of limited value. The facts are, after all, only the facts, and the yearning passionate part of you will not be met there. That is why reading ourselves as a fiction as well as fact is so liberating. The wider we read the freer we become. Emily Dickinson barely left her homestead in Amherst, Massachusetts, but when we read ‘My life stood — a loaded gun’ we know we have met an imagination that will detonate life, not decorate it.

Yes. Just pass me my leg will you? It’s on top of the wardrobe where he threw it, and I think my right arm is leaning over by the wall. My head is in the gas oven but it will probably be all right, I’m told that green colour wears off. Unfortunately I threw my heart to the dogs. Never mind. No one will notice how much is missing from the inside, will they?

Manchester is in the south of the north of England.

Its spirit has a contrariness in it — a south and north bound up together — at once untamed and unmetropolitan; at the same time, connected and wordly.

That is what literature offers– a language powerful enough to say how it is. It isn’t a hiding place. It is a finding place.

We are told not to privilege one story above another. All the stories must be told. Well, maybe that’s true, maybe all stories are worth hearing, but not all stories are worth telling.

The winged word. The mercurial word. The word that is both moth and lamp. The word that is itself and more. the associative word light with meanings. The word not netted by meaning. The exact word wide. The word not whore nor cenobite. The word unlied.

He doesn’t take a photo or a video because he wants to remember – by which he means he wants to misremember because the moment is made up of what the camera can’t capture.

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