Among the virtues and vices that make up the British character, we have one vice, at least, that Americans ought to view with sympathy. For they appear to be the only people who share it with us. I mean our worship of the antique. I do not refer to beauty or even historical association. I refer to age, to a quantity of years.
I find it very difficult to talk here now because I'm watching the sea all the time. The sea always makes me watch it all the time. I've spent hours and hours not just on the sea but just watching wave after wave come in. If it's an image of anything, I think it's an image of our own unconscious, the unconscious of our own minds... or you can put it the other way around, and that is that we have a sea in us. After all, we are sea creatures that learnt to walk on the land, are we not? And perhaps one way or another we go back to it. Every night when we dream we go back into that kind of depths, and that kind of beauty and monstrosity and mystery. So really the sea is not a single image, it can really image almost anything that the human mind can discover.
Girls say to me, very reasonably, 'why isn't it a bunch of girls? Why did you write this about a bunch of boys?' Well, my reply is I was once a little boy - I have been a brother, a father, I am going to be a grandfather. I have never been a sister, or a mother, or a grandmother. That's one answer. Another answer is of course to say that if you - as it were - scaled down human beings, scaled down society, if you land with a group of little boys, they are more ike a scaled-down version of society than a group of little girls would be. Don't ask me why, and this is a terrible thing to say because I'm going to be chased from hell to breakfast by all the women who talk about equality - this is nothing to do with equality at all. I think women are foolish to pretend they are equal to men, they are far superior and always have been. But one thing you can't do with them is take a bunch of them and boil them down, so to speak, into a set of little girls who would then become a kind of image of civilisation, of society. The other thing is - why aren't they little boys AND little girls? Well, if they'd been little boys and little girls, we being who we are, sex would have raised its lovely head, and I didn't want this to be about sex. Sex is too trivial a thing to get in with a story like this, which was about the problem of evil and the problem of how people are to live together in a society, not just as lovers or man and wife.
I'm against the picture of the artist as a starry-eyed visionary not really in control or knowing what he does. I'd almost prefer the word 'craftsman'. He's like one of those old-fashioned ship builders who conceived the build of the boat in their mind and after that touched every single piece that went into the boat.
This island has no secrets, not from me. It loves me, and I love it, and when I paint my face I'm a part of the island. The swarthiness of my face hidden behind the clay and charcoal. I leave behind England, it's not important anymore, our island is all that matters. The rhythm of the hunt, the sun, beats deep in my blood. The littl'uns play, eat, and sleep, there good for nothing and just take up precious space on my island.I couldn't have known a ship would pass at the exact moment my hunters left the fire. We needed the meat. Everything was perfect, the pigs on the mountain, the hunters and our spears, we had to go then. The hunt was perfect, the gouts and gouts of blood, the pigs death screams. But that stupid boat went by, and destroyed my trophy.Then Simon, stupid little Simon, gives the fat belligerent Fatty a piece of meat. He doesn't deserve it, the fat, ass-mar infected, fatty. The know-it-all that says he could do better, he wouldn't he'd do the exact same thing in my shoes. Damn him, damn them all! They should have just taken the meat. Then Ralph stands there and tells me I'm too malevolent. I even apologized. He doesn't deserve to be chief, he's weak. He wouldn't do it, he wouldn't kill. There's power behind the spear, impalpable to people like Ralph. We dominate those pigs. Now that we have found the way to kill the pigs, we don't even need to be rescued. It doesn't matter that there was no fire to signal the ship, because we needed the men for the hunt, and I don't regret it anymore because now we have meat.
It seems to me that we do live in two worlds... there is this physical one, which is coherant, and there is the spiritual one, which to the average man with his flashes of religious experience, is very often incoherant. This experience of having two worlds to live in all the time, or not all the time, is a vital one, and is what living is like.
I've always been puzzled, and am still at this moment in a state of confusion, between the imaginative world and the real world. It is perfectly true to say that I have at some times in my life found that the imaginative world had pushed the real world right out of the way, and was literally more real.