-W Somerset Maugham, from "Cakes and Ale".
Monday, March 07, 2005
"I began to meditate upon the writer's life. It is full of tribulation. First he must endure poverty and the world's indifference; then, having achieved a measure of success, he must submit with a good grace to its hazards. He depends upon a fickle public. He is at the mercy of journalists who want to interviewhim, and photographers who want to take his picture, of editors who harry him for copy and tax-gatherers who harry him for income tax, of persons of quality who ask him to lunch and secretaries of institutes who ask him to lecture, of women who want to marry him and women who want to divorce him, of youths who want his autograph, actors who want parts and strangers who want a loan, of gushing ladies who want advice on their matrimonial affairs and earnest young men who want his advice on their composition. Whenever he has anything on his mind, whether it be a harrasing reflection, grief at the death of a friend, unrequitted love, wounded pride, anger at the treachery of someone to whom he has shown kindness, in short any emotion or any perplexing thought, he has only to put it down in black and white, using it as a theme of a story or decoration of an essay, to forget all about it. He is the only free man."