Thanks guys for all the great comments on the interview with Rachel. I'll respond, too, but first I have to tell you about the weird little thing that happened to me today.
Today, I went into the city center with my partner (not London, I can only take so much of the Big Smoke during my off time) and we ended up in one of the various coffee shops for breakfast. While we were chatting away about charity and some article's I've recently read about development, charity and the so-called Third World, my reality shifted.
That was such a weird moment there. Like reality was tilting sideways. The closest I can compare it to was an effect in a movie. Something weird going on about resolution and camera angle. Suddenly, reality was not what it had been. I was at the same time strangely hyper-aware of myself and reality was blurred. Less real. (I was neither drunk, on drugs, and very rarely pass out, although it has happened once on a commuter train when I got stuck with no oxygen and without breakfast for half an hour.)
It felt like a brush with an alternate reality, like some other world got very close in that moment. Like something outrageous could happen. Like I could just get up, leave my body sitting and chatting there and go somewhere else. If I were writing paranormal, I'd expect something weird to happen there, like, you know, Odin walking into the coffee shop, telling me something about the end of the world and Valhalla... or whatever. (Knowing my luck, it would probably be Loki, anyway. Not that I'm saying Odin is a nice guy.)
Anyway, for a moment I got the whole Buddhist thing about everything being an illusion. I really got it. Somehow I think writers are better equipped to deal with this particular illusion.
Then everything went back to "normal".
Yeah, my sanity is a tenuous thing.