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I'd write more, like you said I should. If only, there was more to me.

Friday, February 15, 2008


Where Seth was the moderator.
VS: Why were you wandering around in Sri Lanka?
TOM: Everyone who has been to Sri Lanka absolutely raves about it, then you read the newspapers and get a totally different picture. But someone told me the other day that Washington is the most dangerous place in the world.
VS: For the rest of the world, yes.

Start with Funny Boy, then head to Cinnamon Gardens.
"To pick up a book and read it, you have to be willing to enter it."
"Writers alone can't change things . It's not that we don't want to change things, but as a writer you can't over-estimate yourself and you have to make sure that your voice doesn't get too shrill."
"You have a writing style, it's like your voice, you can't change it, really. Once you have the material, you need to intergrate it but your voice will stay yours."

If you haven't already read her, get started:
"You can't put the burden on a book to change things. The culture and politics of a society also has a role to play."
"I don't think more novels are going to change things around us. I write because I have to write. And I read because books make me think and re-think. Reading a novel is such a personal act, while writing a novel is like a sprawling moment."

"Nothing nasty happens in my books, in fact nothing happens at all. It's just lots of interesting characters moving in, out and about."
"I often get letters from readers around the world asking how long does it take to get a mechanical apprenticeship in Botswana?"

"We use democracy like ketchup, over everything."
"I recommend you read Aristotle's Politics, it takes more shortcuts than I do."
Simon Winchester to Gore Vidal: Do you love your country?
Gore Vidal responds: Anyone who loves a country is insane (laughter and clapping). I'm obviously in a room full of individualists.
On US policy or lack thereof:
"We have no policy of our own. The amount of money we've lost on mad cap adventures in Asia will take generations to rebuild. (pauses) We wait for time's chariot to pass."

"Travellers take it out of their luggage and take it as their hand luggage. They just use it for one purpose or another, I imagine."

"I was young and utterly despicable. I was put in a jail in Bombay after being caught drunk in Eros Cinema. I wrote an article called 'The Fourth Floor,' I was arrested again and put back on the fourth floor. The cops locked and handcuffed the door. That was the first time I'd seen cockroaches the size of poppadoms."
His musical notes:
"I started because it was too painful to listen to my sisters playing the piano. They could only play two notes and they'd play them all the time. My international debut was when I was in Sharjah, I had to chase the dancers off the stage as half the Kandiyan dancers were pregnant. Who the hell sent pregnant dancers to do a Kandiyan dance? I had to go and play next."
Crashing PCs:
"I crashed my computer so many times that I had to stick a sign before attempting to turn it on - RTFF. Read The F******* Manual."
"I love to write, it's in my blood. I wrote stuff for newspapers, I wrote articles on nature, I simply wrote all the time. I sent some of my articles to Penguin and they sent it back saying, you write well, you should write something like Ondaatje's Running in the Family. I said I have the whole family that has run me out, so it shouldn't be a problem."
On his next book:
"I am writing about the president of a country which is tied like an undersea elastic to India. The Book is called 'The Incredible Adventures of Mr Hindama.' No publisher in Sri Lanka wanted to publish but one brave guy in Chennai agreed to do it.

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