My own sense of the world is that very little is absolute or black and white or easily understood. I suppose in all my writing I'm trying to cast the reader into this spiritually ambivalent dream world, which hopefully mirrors more honestly the complex reality we find ourselves in.
I'm very ambivalent in my feelings about marriage. I think it promises a lot to people - sort of like saying, once you get married you are on the highway to heaven, and quite often it isn't that. I think marriage has always been based on a combination of religious and legal reasons.
I tell this anecdote with tongue in cheek at the start of my book William Burroughs and the Secret of Fascination, but my academic involvement with Burroughs was entirely due to my tutor at Oxford, Peter Conrad. I was discussing with him the idea of staying on to do graduate work and when I tossed the name of Burroughs into the conversation - well, he let it fall loudly onto the floor, and proceeded to cross himself as if warding off an evil spirit. Since I was very ambivalent about an academic career in any case, that decided it for... Read more »
I have written screenplays. Most recently for Errol Morris, who was thinking about doing his first fiction movie, and with a young director who wanted to adopt Project X. Errol was a hoot. I loved talking with him. We were a good match, too, because we both kept joking that we'd found the only other person on earth more ambivalent than we were about the project.
God is erratic, sometimes vindictive, sometimes merciful. The people I was taught were heroes - Jacob or Moses or David - were ambivalent figures, or worse. But that messiness was joyful, and challenging. I loved having a Bible that I could argue with.