Retired literary giant Philip Roth recently told a young fan that he should quit the “awful field” of writing (an experience that the young fan obviously then wrote about). Now Elizabeth Gilbert is writing about it, too. Here’s an excerpt from her full piece, which you can find here:
But even more than being a luxurious act, writing is a voluntary act. Becoming a novelist, then, is not some sort of dreadful Mayan curse, or dark martyrdom that only a chosen few can withstand for the betterment of humanity. Writing is just a thing. It is a lovely thing, mind you, and it personally means the entire world to me, but I still recognize that it is just a thing. It is a thing that you can choose to pursue with your life because it excites you, or because you have a flair for it, or because it seems more rewarding than toiling away in an office. Sometimes it even works. Not always, but sometimes. If you’re lucky, you might be able to make a small living out of this thing. If you’re exceedingly lucky, other people might come to appreciate your gifts. If you are phenomenally lucky, you might become lionized in your own lifetime, like the great Philip Roth himself.