What made you embark on a two-volume autobiography?
Well, anybody can write an autobiography if a publisher thinks it’s interesting enough, and my publishers did. I’m just over 70 years old. It feels like the right time to do it.
I got halfway through and realized that the publication of my first book was rather a natural watershed — it really did change my life. Plus, I suppose I wanted to have a sense of achievement, so finishing volume one did that.
Did it change the way you think about your life?
I’ve been led to reflect on the element of luck in the pathway. I thought to myself how different my life would have been if something would be different — something as trivial as a sneeze.
You recently wondered in print if Shakespeare might have been “even better” if he’d gone to Oxford or Cambridge. What if you hadn’t gone to Oxford?
Oh, no no no, I didn’t mean to suggest that — I just think it’s remarkable that he didn’t receive any schooling after secondary school. But, yes, I think things would have been completely different [for me]. On the other hand, I also speculate that maybe there’s a magnetic pull that drags you back to the pathway.
What do you wish your parents had done differently, raising you?
Well, I think I probably wouldn’t have gone to boarding school. At least not so young. I was sent at 7.