There used to be a rubbish heap under the great tree in Dhoby Ghaut with a sarabat stall parked next to it. It was a low, sprawling rubbish heap made up of the usual things-refuse from dustbins, paper, old tins and slippers and leaves from the tree above. Then one day, people forgot about it. They found a new dumping place and the old rubbish heap settled low on the ground. Time passed and its contents became warm and rich and fertile and people living in the area would take away potfuls of it to plant flowers in. Somehow, a rose cutting, slim as a cheeping chicken's leg and almost brown, appeared on the rubbish heap one day.
In short form I'll say it was an approach to the family and to [author] Jon Krakauer that then led to me seeming to rise to the top of the heap of several filmmakers that were trying to get the rights. And by top of the heap I mean in terms of being somebody that was trusted to do it as they said they were going to attempt to do it and that this way of doing it would be something they would be willing to allow.
A very little boy stood upon a heap of gravel for the honour of Rum Alley. He was throwing stones at howling urchins from Devil's Row, who were circling madly about the heap and pelting him. His infantile countenance was livid with the fury of battle. His small body was writhing in the delivery of oaths.
I have tried hard - but life is difficult, and I am a very useless person. I can hardly be said to have an independent existence. I was just a screw or a cog in the great machine called life, and when I dropped out of it I found I was no use anywhere else. What can one do when one finds out that one only fits into one hole? One must go back to it or be thrown out into the rubbish heap - and you don't know what it's like in the rubbish heap!
Finished, it's finished, nearly finished, it must be nearly finished. Grain upon grain, one by one, and one day, suddenly, there's a heap, a little heap, the impossible heap. I can't be punished any more. I'll go now to my kitchen, ten feet by ten feet by ten feet, and wait for him to whistle me. Nice dimensions, nice proportions, I'll lean on the table, and look at the wall, and wait for him to whistle me.
To get rich, one must have but a single idea, one fixed, hard, immutable thought: the desire to make a heap of gold. And in order to increase this heap of gold, one must be inflexible, a usurer, thief, extortionist, and murderer! And one must especially mistreat the small and the weak! And when this mountain of gold has been amassed, one can climb up on it, and from up on the summit, a smile on one's lips, one can contemplate the valley of poor wretches that one has created.
All my life and all my experience, the events that have befallen me, the people I have known, all my memories, dreams, fantasies, everything I have ever read, all of that has been chucked onto the compost heap, where over time it has rotted down to a dark, rich, organic mulch. The process of cellular breakdown makes it unrecognizable. Other people call it the imagination. I think of it as a compost heap. Every so often I take an idea, plant it in the compost, and wait. It feeds on the black stuff that used to be a life, takes its energy for its own. It germinates, . Takes root. Produces shoots. And so on and so forth, until one fine day I have a story, or a novel... Readers are fools. They believe all writing is autobiographical. And so it is, but not in the way they think. The writer's life needs time to rot away before it can be used to nourish a work of fiction. It must be allowed to decay.