"When I used to get blue years ago James Baldwin would say the same thing to me each time, 'This is the world you have made for yourself Nina, now you have to live in it.'
Jimmy was always a man to see things as they really are and his gaze would never flinch no matter how unpleasant the things he saw were.
When you sit down to think about your life, as I have had to for this book, you have to look back over some things you've kept out of the daylight of your mind for years, and they can catch you. It might be a photograph of an old boyfriend found at the back of a drawer: you look at it and then feel a bundle of different reactions tumbling inside you, and you say to yourself, 'My God, I never knew he affected me so deeply!'
So I've sent a lot of time persuading those lost memories out of the shadows into the light. At times it wasn't easy, at others the dam broke in a rush and I was flooded by so many memories I lost count of them all. It's funny too how you don't have much control over what it is you do remember; how the most inconsequential, unimportant events sit in the front of your mind as clear as yesterday and the moments you just ache to relive stay out of reach for days or weeks at at time.
Finally, when it's the last thing in the world you're thinking of, when you're staring out at the clouds through an airplane window or drinking tea and reading a magazine it all clicks on and those memories run through your head like a home movie, which just won't turn off when you want it to.
Luckily for me most of my clearest memories are also my happiest. Often you don't know how truly happy you were then until you look back and realize how much worse things could have been, how if certain things had turned out the slightest bit differently so many of your favorite people would never have crossed your path and what seemed at the time to be casual meetings and passing acquaintances would never have matured into deep, lifelong friendships..."