Ben Sanders responds to our slightly irreverent literary questionnaire, inspired by Katherine Mansfield.
Write a prelude to your life in one sentence.
The deputy left Chigurh standing in the corner of the office with his hands cuffed behind him while he sat in the swivelchair and took off his hat and put his feet up and called Lamar on the mobile.
Would your father have accepted your plea for musical training?
He didn’t accept my plea to not have musical training.
Do you speak French?
If you were to, at any stage, become a ghost who would you haunt?
Richard Dawkins. I’d tell him how much I liked The God Delusion.
Do you keep ‘great complaining notebooks’ a.k.a. journals?
I keep it all in my head like Jack Reacher. Never forgive, never forget.
Garden parties. Yes or no?
Where have you had the best time of your life?
Ian McEwan’s second book.
Where have you had the worst time of your life?
I won’t go into it, but I was hunched.
If you were to use a nom de plume, what would it be?
Virginia Woolf wrote ‘I was jealous of her writing — the only writing I have ever been jealous of.’ Who are you most jealous of?
Martin Amis. His books are a brain workout and an ab workout.
Where are you in the family birth order?
You left home and then:
Regretted it and went back a few months later.
What is your favourite short story?
One from a few years ago: Kim Jong ill, and now dead.
What was the last real letter you wrote?
I tried to get out of a speeding ticket. They didn’t have a bar of it.
What brings you bliss?
Shortbread. The smooth-faced kind, that looks like gold bullion.
How would you like to die?
With a full set of marbles, and not for about seventy years, thanks.
‘There is no twilight in our New Zealand days, but a curious half-hour when everything appears grotesque—it frightens—as though the savage spirit of the country walked abroad and sneered at what it saw.’ What are your feelings on New Zealand twilight?
Twilight is dishes time: glass tinkle, finger wrinkle.
Has anyone ever said of you that you’re ‘a dangerous woman’?
I hope not.
Have you ever had an X-ray?
Write a brief history of your eyesight:
It’s been crap for yonks.
Is there ‘the taint of the pioneer’ in your blood?
No. I like my comfort zone.
‘I want to be REAL.’ True or false?
I’m real already.