Can Writers Still Make it New? (Benjamin Moser)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Something to contemplate as I stand, 162 pages in, with an odd, new, perhaps creation. A novel I have to keep setting aside, a novel I dream with, wake up to, put aside again (real work forever intervening). A novel that makes me ask myself daily, as I lose my battle with time:  Is all this private agony worth it? Should I succumb? Wouldn't it just be easier if.... ?

Writing, like life, can drive a person mad. The pages of literary history are stained with the blood of writers who dashed their brains out. They are soaked with the drink that promised temporary consolation — or are left entirely blank, when the writer despaired and gave up. To make a new thing out of no thing is excruciating, but any writer who seeks to cut corners ends as a plagiarist or a hack. Agonizing experiment is ­inescapable.

— Benjamin Moser, for the New York Times Book Review Question: Can Writers Still Make it New?


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