we're doing? For, make no mistake, there is no such thing as a humble
writer; the humble don't stick their thoughts under other people's
noses unasked and expect them to be read and "appreciated." So what
makes us so stubborn and
proud? So sure of ourselves?
. . .
Pace Samuel Johnson (of the famous putdown: "Only a blockhead
writes for anything but money"~and who had contempt for the other
motive he recognized driving writers: vanity; as if writers were not
vain by nature and as if all publishing were not at heart vanity publishing):
every writer worth his salt knows he doesn't write for either money
or fame, even to be published, even to communicate. Although even
vanity can be a more laudable motive than pay: vanity at least presupposes
some belief in our worth besides our price.
. . .
rational motive for writing even if you never communicate a word,
make a sale, or have any hope for fame, present or posthumous: to
tell yourself the truth, thereby cleansing yourself of the lies social
life often requires. One motive for a diary, the most private form
. . .
Another motive is revenge: the daily assassin you have at your beck
and call, with dagger in hand hidden by day behind the cloak of politeness,
to be buried in the back in the middle of the night. To write something
down is almost to perform it~every writer has probably had this queasy
feeling at one time or another, as if to write were to hallucinate
an action. It has a similar psychological effect