• When you decide 'to be a writer,' you don't have the faintest idea of what the work is like. When you begin, you write spontaneously out of your limited experience of both the unwritten world and the written world. You're full of naïve exuberance. 'I am a writer!' Rather like the excitement of 'I have a lover!' But working at it nearly every day for fifty years – whether it is being the writer or being the lover – turns out to be an extremely taxing job and hardly the pleasantest of human activities.