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SATC creator Candace Bushnell’s happy place is in front of her computer, working

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Candace Bushnell

What will the author and Sex And The City creator make of our existential questions? 

WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?

Who knows? What we can do is try to have a meaningful life. For most people, that means achievement. It’s good to have something to live for: children, work, a mission.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RIGHT AND WRONG?

These days it seems like right is what selfishly works for you, and wrong is what other people do/think/say that you don’t agree with.

WHERE IS YOUR HAPPY PLACE?

In front of the computer, working.

NATURE OR NURTURE?

Both. The trick is to do the best with the cards you’ve been dealt in life.

IS IT MORE IMPORTANT TO BE LIKED OR RESPECTED?

It’s difficult to be respected if you’re not liked in some way, especially if you’re a woman.

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IF YOU COULD BE REMEMBERED FOR ONE THING WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Changing the world. My father was basically a rocket scientist. He invented the fuel cell they used in the first Apollo space rocket. One time, I was in the backyard with him and he said, “I expect you not just to get straight As. That is not good enough. I expect you to change the world. Oh, and by the way, I’ll be cutting you off financially when you’re 18.” It’s the Bushnell way.

WHO OR WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST LOVE?

Creating.

WHEN DID YOU LAST LIE?

I’m probably lying right now.

DOES THE SUPERNATURAL EXIST?

No. Which is sad, because I really wish there were unicorns. Maybe not vampires, though. Believing in the supernatural tends to reflect having a lack of control over one’s own life, which is why so many young people believe in things like astrology. Those kind of beliefs fade as one gets older and learns how to survive within the system.

ARE YOU FATALISTIC?

I’m realistic.

WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST FEAR?

How human stupidity, selfishness and greed will end the world. How women will never be equal to men. How I probably will not get to rule the world.

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ANIMALS OR BABIES?

For me, animals. I’ve been terrified of babies since I was a kid. In my neighbourhood, when a woman had a baby, all the little girls were brought over to see it (The Handmaid’s Tale, anyone?) and they’d try to make you hold it. I always refused. On the other hand, I was good with animals, especially dogs and horses. We had a barn which I ruled with an iron fist. My room was a mess, but you could eat off the floors in that stable.

WHAT TALENT DO YOU YEARN FOR?

I’d love to be able to tell people to F off.

DO YOU LIKE TO BE COMPLIMENTED?

I’ve been complimented my whole life, ever since I was a baby. I was very cute and I could walk when I was eight months old. In general though, compliments and praise are political. Most people like something because other people like something and they’re too afraid to not be part of the group. I don’t write for likes, however. I write because I feel compelled to tell a truth, and so often the truth hurts.

DO YOU HAVE A HIGH PAIN THRESHOLD?

No. Although I probably have a pretty high emotional pain threshold. I learned a long time ago that most people’s actions really don’t have anything to do with you.

Book

WHAT BOOK DO YOU RECOMMEND MOST TO OTHERS?

Sentimental Education by Gustave Flaubert. It’s a beautiful, poignant book about the human condition. People hated it when it first came out in 1869.

WHICH LESSON HAS BEEN THE HARDEST TO LEARN?

That most people cheat a little bit. That some people really do suck. That some people truly are irredeemable. Also, that heterosexual men like boobs so much they honestly do not care if they’re plastic.

WHAT FOOD SUMS UP HAPPINESS?

Really good Indian food.

WHAT HAVE YOU NEVER UNDERSTOOD?

How supposedly smart people can be so emotionally simple when they read books.

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU WANT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU DIE?

What’s on the other side. Is consciousness transferable to another medium?

ARE YOU SCARED OF DYING OR WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU DIE?

Well, it’s certainly getting closer. It’s inevitable. As it gets closer, you realise a few things: you need to get your health in order and your money in order. Go for what you’ve always wanted but were too scared to try before. Stay mentally healthy and be disciplined. Rule. At least over your own life.

QUINOA OR QUAVERS?

What the hell are Quavers?

Rules For Being A Girl by Candace Bushnell and Katie Cotugno (£7.99, Macmillan) is out 16 April

Images: Patrick McMullan

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