Yeats said famously that one must choose between the life and the work. Do you think that is true?
As you know, he actually said that one must choose between perfection of the life and perfection of the work. Well, writing is a life—a very peculiar one. Of course, if by life you mean life with other people, Yeats’s dictum is true. Writing requires huge amounts of solitude. What I’ve done to soften the harshness of that choice is that I don’t write all the time. I like to go out—which includes traveling; I can’t write when I travel. I like to talk. I like to listen. I like to look and to watch. Maybe I have an Attention Surplus Disorder. The easiest thing in the world for me is to pay attention.