Can’t sleep, and part of the time I can’t even work, staying up till 4:00 or 5:00 in the morning. Thinking. About what, people ask, the book? I stare blankly, sometimes unable to explain and other times too embarrassed. I think about the book, yes, but also about my childhood, my family, and about sex, violence, what people will ask me when they read this book, about my ex-girlfriends and what they will say, about my hips and how wide they have become, my eyesight that is steadily growing worse, the friends who have somehow become strangers, even enemies, the friends who have died without ever managing to do the things they wanted to do, how old I have gotten not recognizing that time was actually passing, about why I am a lesbian and not heterosexual, about children and whether the kind of writing I do will endanger my relationship to my son—allow someone to take him away from me or accuse me of being a bad mother—and about all the things I was not told as a child that I had to make up for myself. When I am writing I sink down into myself, my memory, dreams, shames, and terrors. I answer questions no one has asked but me, avoid issues no else has raised, and puzzle out just where my responsibility to the real begins and ends. Morality and ethics are the heart of what I fear, that I might fail in one or the other, that people like me cannot help but fail to show true ethical insight or moral concern. Then I turn my head and fall into the story, and all that thinking becomes background to the novel writing itself, the voices that are only partly my own”

Dorothy Allison, from Skin