I'm reading a book called Virginia Woolf: An Inner Life by Julia Briggs. [It's] not a standard biography. It concentrates fairly exclusively on what she was thinking and doing as she was writing each one of her major works. You learn a lot about where she was living, who she was talking to, but only in so far as they relate to the work in question. I'm now on a chapter about "Mrs. Dalloway." It's a book-by-book assessment of how a person creates using the material of her life. I admire Virginia Woolf enormously.
We watch very little television; it's only turned on for elections and impeachments. We do [subscribe to] Netflix. I'm just about to start the Seven Up! Series , a series of films made at seven-year intervals tracing the lives of a group of kids, starting at age 7, then 14, and 21. The older they get, the more you remember them when they were 7. It's reality TV of the real sort.
I've been trying for half a year to listen to Tristan and Isolde. I have the most time when I'm in the car, but without being able to read the German libretto, my mind wanders, no matter how much I try to pay attention, and the car stereo is not as good as the house stereo system. If you lose the thread of that very un-threadlike music you're lost yourself. I like how it sounds and that it's based on something epic. Wagner is not a natural match for me; I'm trying to overcome a natural antipathy and learn something about what he gave to the history of composition. I want to know it intellectually, even if I can never appreciate it emotionally.
• Gregory Maguire is the author of "Wicked," "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister," and "Son of a Witch."