Homelessness is illegal. In my city no one is homeless although there are an increasing number of criminals living on the street. It was smart to turn an abandones class into a criminal class, sometimes people feel sorry for the down and outs, they never feel sorry for criminals, it has been a great stabilizer.

Love, they say, enslaves and passion is a demon and many have been lost for love. I know this is true, but I know too that without love we grope the tunnels of our lives and never see the sun. When I fell in love it was as though I looked into a mirror for the first time and saw myself. I lifted my hand in bewilderment and felt my cheeks, my neck. This was me. And when I had looked at myself and grown accustomed to who I was, I was not afraid to hate parts of me because I wanted to be worthy of the mirror bearer.

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.

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