Interviews

P. G. Wodehouse, The Art of Fiction No. 60

Interviewed by Gerald Clarke

When I first went to see him, I telephoned P. G. Wodehouse and asked for directions from New York to his house on Long Island. He merely chuckled, as if I had asked him to compare Euclid with Einstein or attempt some other laughably impossible task. “Oh, I can’t tell you that,” he said. “I don’t have a clue.” I learned the route anyway, and my arrival for lunch, only ten minutes late, seemed to astonish him. “You had no trouble? Oh, that is good. That’s wonderful!” His face beaming at having in his house such a certified problem-solver, a junior Jeeves almost, he led me without further to-do to a telephone, which he had been dialing all morning in a futile effort to reach a number in New York. He had, of course, done everything right but dial the area code, an addition to the Bell system that had somehow escaped his attention since he had last attempted long distance. He was intensely pleased when New York answered, and I sunned myself in the warm glow of his gratitude for the rest of the day. All of which is by way of saying that Wodehouse, who lived four months past his ninety-third birthday, had discovered his own secret of long life: he simply ignored what was worrisome, bothersome, or confusing in the world around him.

His wife, Ethel, or his sister-in-law, Helen, did the worrying for him. On my three visits Ethel would hover around him at the beginning of our conversation to plump his pillow or fill his sherry glass, then discreetly disappear to tend to an ailing dog or cat. They had about a half-dozen of each, most of them strays that had come begging to the door. Wodehouse himself had not found it necessary to carry money in twenty years, and though he had spent most of his adult life in America, he still reckoned such things as book prices in pounds and shillings. His accent, like his arithmetic, remained pure English. Aside from his writing, his two passions were the New York Mets and a soap opera called The Edge of Night. On those extremely rare occasions when he had to leave the house for the day, Ethel was assigned to watch the program and write down exactly what had happened. “I understand that you’re going to watch The Edge of Night with me,” he said on one of my visits. “That’s splendid!”

Wodehouse lived on twelve acres in Remsenburg, a pretty, quiet little town in eastern Long Island, and from his glass-enclosed study, and most of the rest of the house, all that he could see was greenery. He was as happily isolated there as if he were living in Blandings Castle itself. He enjoyed all the hoopla that surrounded him in his old age, but he also found the attention very tiring. “Everything more or less quiet here now,” he wrote me a week after he had been dubbed Sir Pelham, “but it has been hell with all the interviewers.” A month after that he died, as peacefully and as quietly as he had lived, according to all accounts.

 

INTERVIEWER

The last time I saw you was at your ninetieth birthday party in 1971.

WODEHOUSE

Oh, yes. All that ninetieth-birthday thing gave me not exactly a heart attack. But I had to have treatment, you know. I’m always taking pills and things. One good effect of the treatment, however, is that I lost about twenty pounds. I feel frightfully fit now, except my legs are a bit wobbly.

INTERVIEWER

You’re ninety-one now, aren’t you?

WODEHOUSE

Ninety-one and a half! Ninety-two in October.

INTERVIEWER

You don’t have any trouble reading now, do you?

WODEHOUSE

Oh, no!

INTERVIEWER

How about writing?

WODEHOUSE

Oh, as far as the brain goes, I’m fine. I’ve just finished another novel, in fact. I’ve got a wonderful title for it, Bachelors Anonymous. Don’t you think that’s good? Yes, everybody likes that title. Peter Schwed, my editor at Simon and Schuster, nearly always alters my titles, but he raved over that one. I think the book is so much better than my usual stuff that I don’t know how I can top it. It really is funny. It’s worked out awfully well. I’m rather worried about the next one. It will be a letdown almost. I don’t want to be like Bernard Shaw. He turned out some awfully bad stuff in his nineties. He said he knew the stuff was bad but he couldn’t stop writing.

INTERVIEWER

What is your working schedule these days?

WODEHOUSE

I still start the day off at seven-thirty. I do my daily dozen exercises, have breakfast, and then go into my study. When I am between books, as I am now, I sit in an armchair and think and make notes. Before I start a book I’ve usually got four hundred pages of notes. Most of them are almost incoherent. But there’s always a moment when you feel you’ve got a novel started. You can more or less see how it’s going to work out. After that it’s just a question of detail.

INTERVIEWER

You block everything out in advance, then?

WODEHOUSE

Yes. For a humorous novel you’ve got to have a scenario, and you’ve got to test it so that you know where the comedy comes in, where the situations come in . . . splitting it up into scenes (you can make a scene of almost anything) and have as little stuff in between as possible.

INTERVIEWER

Is it really possible to know in a scenario where something funny is going to be?

WODEHOUSE

Yes, you can do that. Still, it’s curious how a scenario gets lost as you go along. I don’t think I’ve ever actually kept completely to one. If I’ve got a plot for a novel worked out and I can really get going on it, I work all the time. I work in the morning, and then I probably go for a walk or something, and then I have another go at the novel. I find that from four to seven is a particularly good time for working. I never work after dinner. It’s the plots that I find so hard to work out. It takes such a long time to work one out. I like to think of some scene, it doesn’t matter how crazy, and work backward and forward from it until eventually it becomes quite plausible and fits neatly into the story.

INTERVIEWER

How many words do you usually turn out on a good day?

WODEHOUSE

Well, I’ve slowed up a good deal now. I used to write about two thousand words. Now I suppose I do about one thousand.

INTERVIEWER

Do you work seven days a week?

WODEHOUSE

Oh, yes, rather. Always.

INTERVIEWER

Do you type or do you write in longhand?

WODEHOUSE

I used to work entirely on the typewriter. But this last book I did sitting in a lawn chair and writing by hand. Then I typed it out. Much slower, of course. But I think it’s a pretty good method; it does pretty well.

INTERVIEWER

Do you go back and revise very much?

WODEHOUSE

Yes. And I very often find that I’ve got something which ought to come in another place, a scene which originally I put in chapter two and then when I get to chapter ten, I feel it would come in much better there. I’m sort of molding the whole time.

INTERVIEWER

How long does it take you to write a novel?

WODEHOUSE

Well, in the old days I used to rely on it being about three months, but now it might take any length of time. I forget exactly how long Bachelors Anonymous took, but it must have been six or seven months.

INTERVIEWER

That still seems very fast to me.

WODEHOUSE

It’s still good, yes.

INTERVIEWER

If you were asked to give advice to somebody who wanted to write humorous fiction, what would you tell him?

WODEHOUSE

I’d give him practical advice, and that is always get to the dialogue as soon as possible. I always feel the thing to go for is speed. Nothing puts the reader off more than a great slab of prose at the start. I think the success of every novel—if it’s a novel of action—depends on the high spots. The thing to do is to say to yourself, “Which are my big scenes?” and then get every drop of juice out of them. The principle I always go on in writing a novel is to think of the characters in terms of actors in a play. I say to myself, if a big name were playing this part, and if he found that after a strong first act he had practically nothing to do in the second act, he would walk out. Now, then, can I twist the story so as to give him plenty to do all the way through? I believe the only way a writer can keep himself up to the mark is by examining each story quite coldly before he starts writing it and asking himself if it is all right as a story. I mean, once you go saying to yourself, “This is a pretty weak plot as it stands, but I’m such a hell of a writer that my magic touch will make it okay,” you’re sunk. If they aren’t in interesting situations, characters can’t be major characters, not even if you have the rest of the troop talk their heads off about them.

INTERVIEWER

What do you think makes a story funny?

WODEHOUSE

I think character mostly. You know instinctively what’s funny and what isn’t if you’re a humorous writer. I don’t think a man can deliberately sit down to write a funny story unless he has got a sort of slant on life that leads to funny stories. If you take life fairly easily, then you take a humorous view of things. It’s probably because you were born that way. Lord Emsworth and his pig—I know they’re funny.

INTERVIEWER

Did you ever know anyone who was actually like Lord Emsworth?

WODEHOUSE

No. Psmith is the only one of my characters who is drawn from life. He started in a boys’ story, and then I did a grown-up story about him in the Saturday Evening Post. People sometimes want to know why I didn’t go on with Psmith. But I don’t think that the things that made him funny as a very young man would be funny in an older man. He had a very boring sort of way of expressing himself. Called everybody comrade and all that sort of thing. I couldn’t go on with him. I don’t think he’d have worked as a maturer character. In a way my character Galahad is really Psmith grown up.

INTERVIEWER

But Galahad works very well as a character.

WODEHOUSE

Yes, Galahad is fine.

INTERVIEWER

How old is he supposed to be?

WODEHOUSE

How old all those characters are I don’t know. The first short story I wrote about Lord Emsworth said that he had been to Eton in 1864, which would make him a hundred-and-something now!

INTERVIEWER

What period are the books set in?

WODEHOUSE

Well, between the wars, rather. I try not to date them at all, but it’s rather difficult. I’m bad at remembering things, like when flying really became fashionable. The critics keep saying that the world I write about never existed. But of course it did. It was going strong between the wars. In a way it is hard to write the sort of stuff I do now because it really is so out-of-date. The character of Jeeves is practically unknown in England now, though I believe someone told me the butler was creeping back. Bertie Wooster and Oofy Proster have more or less vanished too. I suppose a typical member of the Drones Club now is someone with a job and very earnest about it. Those rather hit-or-miss days have passed away. But thank God, that doesn’t seem to matter!

INTERVIEWER

I suppose that the world has gone the way of spats. You were very fond of spats, weren’t you? Tell me a little about them.

WODEHOUSE

I don’t know why spats went out! The actual name was spatterdashers, and you fastened them over your ankles, you see, to prevent the spatter dashing you. They certainly lent tone to your appearance, and they were awfully comfortable, especially when you wore them in cold weather. I’ve written articles, which were rather funny, about how I used to go about London. I would borrow my brother’s frock coat and my uncle’s hat, but my spats were always new and impeccable. The butler would open the door and take in my old topcoat and hat and sniff as if to say, “Hardly the sort of thing we are accustomed to.” And then he would look down at the spats and everything would be all right. It’s a shame when things like spats go out.

INTERVIEWER

Did you ever have a butler like Jeeves?

WODEHOUSE

No, never like Jeeves. My butlers were quite different, though I believe J. M. Barrie had one just like Jeeves.

INTERVIEWER

How did you create Jeeves, then?

WODEHOUSE

I only intended to use him once. His first entrance was: “Mrs. Gregson to see you, sir,” in a story called “Extricating Young Gussie.” He only had one other line, “Very good, sir. Which suit will you wear?” But then I was writing a story, “The Artistic Career of Corky,” about two young men, Bertie Wooster and his friend Corky, getting into a lot of trouble, and neither of them had brains enough to get out of the trouble. I thought: Well, how can I get them out? And I thought: Suppose one of them had an omniscient valet? I wrote a short story about him, then another short story, then several more short stories and novels. That’s how a character grows. I think I’ve written nine Jeeves novels now and about thirty short stories.

INTERVIEWER

I like Jeeves, but my favorite character of yours is really Lord Emsworth.

WODEHOUSE

Oh, yes. He’s about my favorite character, too. Well, now, he must be entirely out-of-date. I don’t suppose anybody in England is living in a castle like that anymore.

INTERVIEWER

Maybe not, but I suspect that there are still some woolly-headed English aristocrats around.

WODEHOUSE

Oh, yes?

INTERVIEWER

Will you write any more Lord Emsworth stories?

WODEHOUSE

I don’t know if I shall. I’ve got him in such a pleasant position now. He’s free of both his sisters. He’s got his pig, and he’s living alone and loving it. He’s comfortable by himself. It seems rather unkind to disturb him. . . . I do think I’d like to have a try, though. You see, that’s the problem. I’d love to do a Lord Emsworth story, but what could it be about? I mean, what could happen? The trouble is, you see, that I’ve so featured the pig that I couldn’t leave her out. And yet, what could happen to a pig? It is difficult to find plots when you have written so much. The ideas don’t seem to come to me now. I suppose it’s temporary. I’ve always felt like this in between books. But I have used up every possible situation. If I do get a good idea, I find it is something I wrote in the thirties.

INTERVIEWER

I think the closest you have come to sex in your novels is a kiss on the cheek. Have you ever been tempted to put anything spicier into them?

WODEHOUSE

No. No, I don’t think the framework of the novel would stand it. Sex, of course, can be awfully funny, but you have to know how to handle it. And I don’t think I can handle it properly.

INTERVIEWER

Sex aside, have you ever thought of writing anything more serious?

WODEHOUSE

No. I don’t think I’m capable of writing anything but the sort of thing I do write. I couldn’t write a serious book.

INTERVIEWER

Did you always know you would be a writer?

WODEHOUSE

Yes, always. I know I was writing stories when I was five. I don’t remember what I did before that. Just loafed, I suppose. I was about twenty when I sold my first story, and I’ve been a full-time writer since 1902. I can’t think of myself as anything but a writer.

INTERVIEWER

Did you ever have another career?

WODEHOUSE

When I left school. I was first working for scholarship at Oxford when my father’s finances took rather a nasty jar and I wasn’t able to go up to Oxford, and instead was put in the bank, the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, which I hated at first but later got to like. The bank had branches all over the East. After two years in the London branch you’d get your orders to go out there, which of course appalled me because in my two years I never learned a thing about banking. The idea of going out to Bombay or somewhere and being a branch manager and being paid in rupees scared me stiff.

All this time I was writing and getting rejections. Because the trouble is when you start writing, you write awful stuff. And I was writing on banking hours too. My second year I got into the cash department and my job was to enter the deposits on the ledger. After a while a new ledger was provided and I sat down and suddenly thought of a wonderful idea—to write in the new ledger an account of the Great Opening of the New Ledger, with the King coming and all that. And I did this and, having done it, repented and thought this was going to get me into trouble, and I got a knife and I cut the first page of the ledger out. It so happened that the chief cashier had got a long feud on with the stationers and he’d been trying to catch them out for years and when he saw this ledger with the front page missing, he thought, Ah, this is my chance, and he went and cursed them for giving us an imperfect ledger. But I didn’t get the sack for it.

I left the bank after that second year, however, to go to the [London] Globe. I had been doing occasional day jobs for an old master of mine who’d become a journalist and ran the comic column at the Globe. I’d pretend I’d sprained my back lifting a ledger or something, and I’d do my work for the Globe. Then when he went on summer holiday, I took his place and eventually got on the staff in 1902 when he resigned. In those days the pay was three pounds a week (about fifteen dollars) and I could live on that very well.

INTERVIEWER

From those days to now, have you continued to read criticism of your own work?

WODEHOUSE

Yes. I get a lot of reviews sent to me. They are invariably favorable. And somehow I always read them really carefully. You do get tips from them. Now, that last Jeeves book of mine, Jeeves and the Tie That Binds, I forget which critic it was, but he said that the book was dangerously near to self-parody. I know what he meant. I had exaggerated Jeeves and Bertie. Jeeves always reciting some poetry or something. I’ll correct that in the next one. I do think one can learn from criticism. In fact, I’m a pretty good critic of my own work. I know when it isn’t as good as it ought to be.

INTERVIEWER

Do you ever feel angry at critics? Do you ever feel they are unfair?

WODEHOUSE

No, I don’t think so. You always feel that you can’t please everybody.

INTERVIEWER

Some critics, going beyond any particular book, think that your short stories are better than your novels. What do you think?

WODEHOUSE

Yes, I think I’d sooner write short stories than novels. I feel really happy with a short story. I like the sense of completing something. The only trouble is that if I do get a good idea, I rather want to work it into a novel. I mean, I’m rather wasting a novel if I write a short story.

INTERVIEWER

Who are your own favorite humorists?

WODEHOUSE

The ones I like most are all dead—James Thurber, Robert Benchley, Wolcott Gibbs, George S. Kaufman.

INTERVIEWER

Do you like S. J. Perelman?

WODEHOUSE

Oh, yes, yes, yes. He’s quite a favorite of mine. But there are very few writers like that now, just writing funny stuff, not like in the twenties and thirties. When I first came over here all the evening papers, the evening World and the others, all had funny poems and columns in them. I liked F.P.A.’s column very much. But I don’t think people buy funny books nowadays. I never have had a big sale over here. Where I get my money is England, Sweden, Italy, France, and Germany.

INTERVIEWER

Do you think there are more humorous writers in England than America?

WODEHOUSE

They haven’t got any in England either.

INTERVIEWER

Do you like Peter De Vries?

WODEHOUSE

I’m not frightfully keen on him. I haven’t read very much of his stuff. But I’ll tell you who is awfully good is Jean Kerr. Ooooh, she’s wonderful. Mary, Mary was one of the best plays I’ve ever read. Anthony Powell is also a good writer. It’s extraordinary how interesting his stuff is, you know. And it just goes on and on, with nothing much in the way of scenes or anything. You wouldn’t call it funny stuff, though, would you?

INTERVIEWER

No, I don’t suppose so. What have you been reading most recently?

WODEHOUSE

I’ve been reading the old books, books that I’ve read before. The first time you read a book, you don’t read it at all carefully; you just read it for the story. You have to keep rereading. Every year or so I read Shakespeare straight through. But then I go to the latest by Agatha Christie or Rex Stout. I read every book of theirs. I do like a book with an elaborate plot. But I haven’t any definite plan of reading. I read almost everything, and I like anything that’s good. I’ve just reread a book of A. A. Milne’s called Two People, which I had read several times before. His novel is simply a novel of character. It’s not the sort of thing I can write myself, but as a reader I enjoy it thoroughly.

INTERVIEWER

Do you read any contemporary novels?

WODEHOUSE

I’ve read some of Norman Mailer.

INTERVIEWER

Do you like his writing?

WODEHOUSE

I don’t like his novels very much, but he writes very interesting nonfiction stuff. I liked Advertisements for Myself very much.

INTERVIEWER

How about the Beats? Someone like Jack Kerouac, for instance, who died a few years ago?

WODEHOUSE

Jack Kerouac died! Did he?

INTERVIEWER

Yes.

WODEHOUSE

Oh . . . Gosh, they do die off, don’t they?

INTERVIEWER

Do you ever go back and reread your own books?

WODEHOUSE

Oh, yes.

INTERVIEWER

Are you ever surprised by them?

WODEHOUSE

I’m rather surprised that they’re so good.

INTERVIEWER

Of all the books you’ve written, do you have any favorites?

WODEHOUSE

Oh, I’m very fond of a book called Quick Service and another called Sam in the Suburbs, a very old one. But I really like them all. There are very few exceptions.

INTERVIEWER

Have you ever been envious of another writer?

WODEHOUSE

No, never. I’m really such a voracious reader that I’m only too grateful to get some stuff I can read.

INTERVIEWER

Have any other writers ever been envious of you?

WODEHOUSE

Well, I always thought A. A. Milne was rather. We were supposed to be quite good friends, but, you know, in a sort of way I think he was a pretty jealous chap. I think he was probably jealous of all other writers. But I loved his stuff. That’s one thing I’m very grateful for: I don’t have to like an awful person to like his stuff. I like Somerset Maugham’s stuff tremendously, for example, but I should think he was unhappy all the time, wouldn’t you? He was an unpleasant man.

INTERVIEWER

Was he unpleasant to you?

WODEHOUSE

No. He was all right to me. We got along on just sort of “how do you do” terms. I remember walking back from a cricket match at Lords in London, and Maugham came along on the other side. He looked at me and I looked at him, and we were thinking the same thing: Oh, my God, shall we have to stop and talk? Fortunately, we didn’t.

INTERVIEWER

I don’t think writers get along very well with one another.

WODEHOUSE

No, I don’t think they do, really. I think they’re jealous of each other. I do get along with them superficially, if everything’s all right. But you feel they’re resenting you, rather. . . What do you imagine the standing of a writer like Arnold Bennett is now?

INTERVIEWER

I don’t think anybody reads him.

WODEHOUSE

That’s what I think, too. But when he was alive, he was very much a sort of great literary man.

INTERVIEWER

Let’s switch to your own life for a minute. You and Ethel were living in France when the Germans invaded in 1940. You were interned for about a year in Germany and Ethel had to live in Berlin. Why didn’t you escape to England when you had a chance?

WODEHOUSE

Oh, everything happened so suddenly. Until the Germans arrived there didn’t seem to be any danger at all. I suppose really the whole thing was that we had two dogs we were very fond of, and because of the English quarantine laws we couldn’t take them into England. We aren’t very good at organizing a thing like that.

INTERVIEWER

You later made some broadcasts from Berlin for CBS radio describing your life in the camp. Those broadcasts caused great controversy in Britain, and for a time you were rather savagely denounced there. Do you regret making them?

WODEHOUSE

Oh, yes. Oh, rather. I wish I hadn’t. It never occurred to me that there was anything wrong in the broadcasts. They altered my whole life. I suppose I would have gone back to England and so on if it hadn’t been for them. Yet they were so perfectly harmless, just a comic description of my adventures in camp. Of course, nobody ever published them.

INTERVIEWER

Do you resent the way you were treated by the English?

WODEHOUSE

Oh, no, no, no. Nothing of that sort. The whole thing seems to have blown over now.

INTERVIEWER

Would you ever like to go back to England?

WODEHOUSE

I’d certainly like to, but at my age it’s awfully difficult to get a move on. But I’d like to go back for a visit in the spring. They all seem to want me to go back. The trouble is that I’ve never flown. I suppose that would solve everything.

INTERVIEWER

I imagine most people think that you live in England even now. But you are an American citizen, and you have spent most of your life here.

WODEHOUSE

Yes, that is true. I have always been awfully fond of America. It always seemed like my own country. I don’t know why. I’d much sooner live here than in England, I think. I can’t think of any place in England I prefer to this. I used to like London, but I don’t think I’d like it now. I had always wanted to go to America, and when I got a holiday from the Globe, in 1904, I came over for about three weeks. Indeed, I saw more of New York then than I’ve ever seen since, and having been in America gave my reputation in London a tremendous boost. I was suddenly someone who counted to editors who threw me out before. Then I came back in 1909 for another visit and lived in Greenwich Village. It was a quiet sort of place, all of us young writers trying to get on. I was going to return to England when I sold two short stories to Cosmopolitan and Collier’s for a total of $500—much more than I had ever earned before. So I resigned from the Globe and stayed. But the wolf was always at the door. I used to think I was being followed about by little men with black beards. If it hadn’t been for Frank Crowninshield, the editor of Vanity Fair, taking all the articles I could do, I should have been in real trouble. When Ethel and I got married in September 1914, she had $75 and I had $50.

The Saturday Evening Post gave me my first break. I wrote a novel called Something New and they bought it for $3,500 and serialized it. They then bought Uneasy Money, Piccadilly Jim, and A Damsel in Distress and gave me a raise with each one, $5,000, $7,500, and $10,000.

Just about that time I started writing musical comedies—eighteen in all—with Guy Bolton and Jerry Kern. I did the lyrics to Jerry’s melodies. Our terrific smash was Oh, Boy! So it all came in a rush. Guy is one of the best fellows I ever met. He lives a mile from here; that’s why we came down here. We were spending the weekend with him, and Ethel went out and came back for lunch and said, “I’ve bought a house.”

INTERVIEWER

You once told me that when you worked with Ziegfeld, he said that he envied your happy temperament.

WODEHOUSE

Yes, he always used to say that.

INTERVIEWER

To what do you attribute your good nature? Was it a happy childhood?

WODEHOUSE

I certainly had a very happy childhood. My position was the same as Rudyard Kipling’s. His parents were in India and boarded him out with a family in England. My parents were in Hong Kong, and I was also boarded out in England. Yet Kipling had one hell of a time, and I got on marvelously with the people I was with and I loved them. What can you attribute a good nature to, I wonder. Do you think you’re born with it? I suppose you are.

INTERVIEWER

There must have been some bad times for you, even so.

WODEHOUSE

Do you know, I don’t think I’ve had any really bad times. I disliked the bank I had to work in when I was young very much my first month or so. But once I got used to it, I became very fond of it.

INTERVIEWER

How about the war years, particularly the year in the German internment camp? That must have been pretty bad.

WODEHOUSE

I don’t know. Looking back to it, it wasn’t at all unpleasant. Everybody seems to think a German internment camp must be a sort of torture chamber. It was really perfectly normal and ordinary. The camp had an extraordinarily nice commander, and we did all sorts of things, you know. We played cricket, that sort of thing. Of course, I was writing all the time. Most writers would have gotten fifty novels out of the experience—the men they met there—but I have never written a word about it, except those broadcasts.

INTERVIEWER

It sounds as if you’ve never had any worries at all.

WODEHOUSE

I’m rather blessed in a way. I really don’t worry about anything much. I can adjust myself to things pretty well.

INTERVIEWER

Do you think it is essential for a writer to have a happy home life?

WODEHOUSE

Well, I think it’s a tremendous help, yes. Ethel has always been wonderful in that way. You’ve got to be alone quite a bit when you’re writing. She doesn’t mind that at all. I’ve always had great luck with the things that really matter in life. I should imagine an unhappy marriage would simply kill a man.

INTERVIEWER

Do you think you would have been so happy if you had not been a writer?

WODEHOUSE

No. I think a writer’s life is the ideal life. I can never understand these fellows like Evelyn Waugh who did not always have the idea of being a writer. I always wanted to be a writer.

INTERVIEWER

Do you always enjoy writing?

WODEHOUSE

Oh, yes. I love writing. I never feel really comfortable unless I am either actually writing or have a story going. I could not stop writing.