"C.D.: Tell us about Olivia's blue suit. Her daughter, Fanny, takes it to the cleaners and it never comes back, so she makes another one for herself, but it is the wrong shade of blue and it makes her extremely tired every time she wears it. Where did that idea come from?

"A.W.: I just made it up. Because it just seemed perfectly logical. All of us have had at least one magical garment that someone gave us or that we bought. And when we put it on, we just felt very vivid. And then, if you lost that and you tried to replace it with something else, it just wouldn't work. There was just no way. Because, actually, you were trying to make a material thing function as a spiritual thing. The first one actually enspirited you because of the connection. It was made by someone who loved you. But then you get something off the rack, and it is not the same thing.

"C.D.: One senses you have very strong feelings about handmade objects. Once, on The Today Show, you described a book almost as if it were a piece of sculpture or pottery.

"A.W.: Well, I do. In my house, I don't have much furniture. But what I have looks like anybody could have made it. Anybody with a real aesthetic eye. Not fancy things. Useful objects. I love pottery, I wish I could make pots. I'm not very good at it. I value what has been made by people.

"C.D.: Do you think the objects, after a while, encompass the spirit of the person who made them?

"A.W.: Oh, I think they do from the beginning. When you respond to something because it's so beautiful, you're really looking at the soul of the person who made it. The spirit of the person who made it has gone into it; that's why it is so beautiful. It has all of her or his concentrated intensity and passion and thoughtfulness, and that's what you see.

"C.D.: There's a New Age quality to your writing, to your ideas.

"A.W.: What I'm doing is literarily trying to reconnect us to our ancestors. All of us. I'm really trying to do that because I see the ancient past as the future, that the connection that was original is a connection; if we can affirm it in the present, it will make a different future.

"Because it's really fatal to see yourself as separate. You have to feel, I think, more or less equal and valid in order for the whole organism to feel healthy."