Friday, October 15, 2010

On Being a Maniac

Philip Roth is making the circuit. His new book is Nemesis. For the record, I haven't read him although he's on the list. The NYT Book Review critic offered her mea culpa on Roth's work. NPR interviewed him. He's been writing for 55 years and isn't stopping. He writes nearly every day - seven, eight, often more, hours each session. He calls it maniacal, admittedly, as if it were evil-doing.

You have to have a little of that trait to do this. Having read some about his work, I gather he's taken huge dumps of criticism, yet still he writes. He says he can't do anything else. It's like a pathology. Makes you sick in the head.

I kinda like that feeling. It's like doing something subversive when you're really not. There's nothing illegal about it (at least, not in this country). Take a step back, because it would be horrible to live without free access to information and ideas. We still ban books (sad, but true), but we find ways to weasel them into the public realm. Thankfully.

BTW, I recommend the Roth interview over the written version. His voice conveys his infliction.

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