外交在某种意义上是写作的反面。你得把自己分散得很厉害:那位小姐跟秘书吵了一架，就哭着进来;出口和进口;学生陷入困境;大使馆的图钉。写作需要作者全神贯注，要求除了写作之外别无他事可做。所以我有所有这些被压抑的能量现在正在流出。这些天我写了很多东西。此外，我还学会了如何写作。我以前不知道怎么写，我想我是通过当官僚学的。 You have so much mental time on your hands when you are a bureaucrat: you have time to think and to learn how to write in your head. When I was a young man I suffered a great deal because I faced the challenge of Mallarmé's blank page every day without knowing exactly what I was going to say. I fought the page, and paid for it with ulcers. I made up for it with sheer vigor, because you have vigor when you are writing in your twenties and thirties. Then later on you have to use your energy wisely. When I look back on it, I think perhaps it was the fact that I was behind an official desk for two years that left my mind free to write within itself, to prepare what I was going to write once I left that post. So now I can write before I sit down to write, I can use the blank page in a way I couldn't before.