"When it was time to write, and he took his pen in his hand, he never thought of consequences; he thought of style. I wonder why I ever bothered with sex, he thought; there's nothing in this breathing world so gratifying as an artfully placed semi-colon. Once paper and ink were to hand, it was useless to appeal to his better nature, to tell him he was wrecking reputations and ruining people's lives. A kind of sweet venom flowed through his veins, smoother than the finest cognac, quicker to make the head spin. And, just as some people crave opium, he craves the opportunity to exercise his fine art of mockery, vituperation and abuse; laudanum might quieten the senses, but a good editorial puts a catch in the throat and a skip in the heartbeat. Writing's like running downhill; can't stop if you want to."
From A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel.
*Edited to add: designs by Frances Castle.