I love reading interviews with deeply pretentious, self-important writers, because they feel the dreadful burden of having to speak unto the world. I always want to tell them, “Honey, it’s okay.”
Like everybody else, writers crave rules, because if they can only figure out the rules and follow them, then artistic and commercial success will logically follow, right?
When I write in longhand on yellow legal pads and I cut some God-awful word or paragraph, the messy scriibbled cross-out reminds me of how virtuous I am. When I change something on the computer, it magically disappears, as if I’d never had such a terrible thought. Win-win.
Writers don’t need to be physically attractive, and we can comfort ourselves by imagining that instead of beauty, God gave us talent. This would be a delightful equation, except for the existence of staggeringly gorgeous, superbly talented writers, like Zadie Smith, Bruce Chatwin, Martin McDonough and Jennifer Egan. And if you have even an ounce of decency, you will now Google one or more of these writers, examine their photographs and snort, “Well, I don’t think they’re all that.”
Success can make some writers genuinely happier, because they can finally take a breath. It can make other writers even more bitter, because their success was too late and never enough.
A writer’s fantasy: he or she will write their own rave review under an assumed name and then, once this review has been published and the congratulations begin pouring in, the writer can sound confused and say, “Was it good? I haven’t seen it.”