What I've discovered and really confirmed to myself is that opera really likes loud colours, and you need something bold, something savage, unpredictable, passionate. You can't really run a two-hour opera round some muted murmuring.
Atheists have as much conscience, possibly more, than people with deep religious conviction, and they still have the same problem of how they reconcile themselves to a bad deed in the past. It's a little easier if you've got a god to forgive you.
Politics is the enemy of the imagination.
One has to have the courage of one's pessimism.
By concentrating on what is good in people, by appealing to their idealism and their sense of justice, and by asking them to put their faith in the future, socialists put themselves at a severe disadvantage.
You enter a state of controlled passivity, you relax your grip and accept that even if your declared intention is to justify the ways of God to man, you might end up interesting your readers rather more in Satan.
Oh, I've become immune to the Booker. I think we need something a little more like the Pulitzer prize, where there isn't this great race.
Now, I'm an atheist. I really don't believe for a moment that our moral sense comes from a god.
The moment you have children and a mortgage you want things to work; you're locked into the human project and you want it to flourish.
It is not the first duty of the novelist to provide blueprints for insurrection, or uplifting tales of successful resistance for the benefit of the opposition. The naming of what is there is what is important.
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