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Portrait of an Artist, as an Old Man : A Novel

By Joseph Heller

Portrait of an Artist, as an Old Man : A Novel

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Started reading:
22nd November 2007
Finished reading:
26th November 2007

Rating: 8

Review

On writing:

There are factors in the life of creative writing that stem, I believe, from, one, something in the nature of the occuptaion itself; two, something unhappy in the early experience of the person that antedates the occupation; three, a tendency in early childhood for dreaming extravagant wishes for a much richer life than once is experiencing; four, a wish to be – most important, I’d say – a wish to be outstanding, to excel at almost anything that will excite admiration from family and friends and the society at large, and writing for them offers a promising outlet; and … most probably, a combination of some, or all.

Pg. 169

Now, certainly we know multitudes of moody, brooding, daydreaming, contemplative young people who never give much thought to writing. So, one essential thing more: a talent, a gift, perhaps a compulsion, a propensity for sifting experiences into fantasized new events and situations and for putting them down onto paper. The talent itself is not so much the cause of anything that follows in later life, I believe, as it is perhaps a blessed outlet for discontents that already exist – a blessed outlet, at least for a while.

And then, alas, there are indeed factors in the life of the writer itself that almost inevitably lead to feelings of defeat, disappointment, frustration…of being unsatisfied.

Pg. 170

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