My manifesto: I believe in literature. I'm part of the cult of fanatic madness of reading and writing. I believe words can save people. They saved me. When I was working nights in a railroad yard in the Eighties a young man with no course in life I read the words of giants like Dickens and Hugo and Dumas and Tolstoy and they saved me. I opened books in a tower while waiting for trains and the universe expanded. It multiplied in front of me. The great books expanded my mind.
Other writers are my brothers and sisters, yea, truly. They understand-- some of them understand-- this fanatic creed we've adopted, this cult of reading and writing. Literature is a religion if it reaches down into your soul; if it expresses the soul of life you see around you; if it shapes and explains your world and gives voice to your yearnings, your thoughts, your existence, your meaning.