A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble.
I remember people saying: 'You look funny, your hair is so black, you have a flat nose,' but I didn't think of it being racism, and I still don't. But there was a sense of difference, of being an outsider.
You have to remember that the hard days are what make you stronger. The bad days make you realize what a good day is. If you never had any bad days, you would never have that sense of accomplishment!
When I write about a 15-year old, I jump, I return to the days when I was that age. It's like a time machine. I can remember everything. I can feel the wind. I can smell the air. Very actually. Very vividly.
There's also some element of coming of age during the Reagan administration, which everybody has painted as some glorious time in America, but I remember as being a very, very dark time. There was apocalypse in the air; the punk rock movement made sense.
Some of you read with me 40 years ago a portion of Aristotle's Ethics, a selection of passages that describe his idea of happiness. You may not remember too well.