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My top ten fears

Al Alvarez, 75, is a poet, novelist, critic and writer. His most recent book is The Writer's Voice (Bloomsbury)

By Elena Lappin   February 2005

10 Spiders. I was always terrified of spiders as a child. I no longer think they’re bigger than I am, but they still make me uneasy.

9 Operations.When I was about 15 months old, I had a major operation on my leg. Ever since then I have got very anxious in hospitals. I suspect that many people my age are frightened of the prospect of a slow death in hospital. Everyone wants a quick death.

8 The idea of writing badly, or not knowing I’m writing badly.Or even worse, not being able to write at all. I write with huge…

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