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A writer is someone who cannot not write

Posted by G.A. Matiasz on May 12, 2018


To be is to do.—Albert Camus
To do is to be.—Jean-Paul Sartre
Do be do be do.—Frank Sinatra

So goes a version of humorous graffiti mentioned by Kurt Vonnegut in “Deadeye Dick.” As a writer, I have my own clever exchange of sayings:

A writer is someone who writes.—Pat Schneider
A writer is someone who cannot not write.—Sol Stein

Pat Schneider’s declaration is an affirmation of identity: “I am a writer.” Sol Stein’s aphorism is an affirmation of the need to write. I’ve rarely needed to affirm my identity as a writer, I’ve always just written.

I recently finished a major rewrite of a longish short story. Now I’m turning to work on my next MRR column. Last month I wrote about individual political changes, crossovers, and conversions on the Right and Left. Now I’m tackling the rise of and interplay between the New Left and the New Right using 1968 as a linchpin year. I started yesterday and, as usual, I’m attempting to write the history of the world in 1,500 words. In my remaining 500 words, I need to summarize how the New Right—in the form of the European New Right—seduced the New Left—in the form of the academic journal Telos. I have Tamir Bar-on’s brilliant book “Where Have All The Fascists Gone?” to guide me. Walk in the park, right?

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