“It was the first time I ever had to go to bed in a hospital and contemplate my own urinary tract hanging on the wall — a sort of amber Rothko,” he says. It startled him into realising how much he wanted to live.
“I had suicidal thoughts when I was young. I fancied myself as a melancholic, quite a lot of people do, it’s a fashionable thing. Anyway, all these ideas were coming to me when I was going to sleep, ideas of self-destruction. They all promptly vanished the moment I was under real threat. There was a sudden urge to live. I wanted to do more, to write more.”