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I don't think there's been any writer like Samuel Beckett. He's unique. He was a most charming man and I used to send him my plays.
Samuel Johnson called it the vanity of human wishes, and Buddhists talk about the endless cycle of desire. Social psychologists say we get trapped on a hedonic treadmill. What they all mean is that we wish, plan and work for things that we think will make us happy, but when we finally get them, we aren't nearly as happy as we thought we'd be.
Long before the idea of a writer's conference was a glimmer in anyone's eye, writers learned by reading the work of their predecessors. They studied meter with Ovid, plot construction with Homer, comedy with Aristophanes; they honed their prose style by absorbing the lucid sentences of Montaigne and Samuel Johnson.
The wedding ring on my left hand was bought by my grandfather, Samuel Miliband, in Brussels in 1920. I never knew him, as he died when I was one. But his ring was kept by my aunt until it was placed on my finger by my wife Louise 32 years later.
The first play I saw was a Samuel Beckett play which was great.