Zoë Heller: The author explains why hot bagels and skinny legs are the key to a good life

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The Independent Online

I believe: that beginning sentences with 'I believe' is a bit pompous. I'm keener on thinking than believing.

I believe: you can't hang around waiting for inspiration, you have to make it happen by getting up each morning and going to work.

I believe: I'm happier now than I have been previously. I'm more reconciled to the person that I am. I'm not advocating childbirth as the key to joy but being a mum has made me very happy.

I believe: that in the West we are far too child-centric. I am absolutely guilty of this. The happy news is that we all have rather less impact on who our children end up being than is supposed.

I believe: in drinking four cups of strong, sugary tea a day - and that a hot, buttered sesame-seed bagel is the cure for most ills.

I believe: there's nobody in the running for the Democratic nomination [for US presidential elections] who excites me. There are things I find attractive about Barack Obama - he voted against Iraq for one thing - but he doesn't set me aflame. I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton. I think she's a deeply cynical politician - all that "I'm still just a mom at heart" rubbish.

I believe: that women with long, skinny legs have more fun

I believe: it's not a good idea for teachers to have affairs with their 15-year-old pupils. But you should be wary of making moral judgements on the way people find love. The world is full of all kinds of strange romantic permutations and as long as they're consensual they're fine by me.

'Notes On A Scandal' is out on DVD

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