The Writer’s Eternal Quandary

Are the best writers those who simply live a detached life, perhaps, always observing the world and its people, or are they the ones who live life to the max? Is the best situation for a writer to live day to day, royalty check to royalty check? Or to have a parallel career track, such as teaching?


Roberto Bolano chose the life fast, die young, leave a good looking corpse lifestyle. In the process, though, he reared children and left a body of work that defies genre, that is inventive and nakedly observant.

The answer to the writer’s quandary? Make the best of the life you fall into, I suppose.



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2 thoughts on “The Writer’s Eternal Quandary

    1. I think those who lead detached lives are the natural writers. Their burden, though, is that they have to simply be (I know, split infinitive) the vehicle for story. Those who – and I first think of Hemingway – write about the lives they have lived, in order to make sense of them. Actually Hemingway was a great scholar of sorts – he studied the ocean currents, the fish and flora, and how they lived and moved about. When he tried to write a novel incorporating that, however, (Islands in the Stream) the attempt was largely a failure. Such a departure from life lived in order to write can be a burden to such people.

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