“Many writers who choose to be active in the world lose not virtue but time, and that stillness without which literature can be made.” Gore Vidal
This statement reminds me of something the great Donald Murray once wrote. Many people are writers but they don’t write. They think about writing after they retire or in the summer or after they get that promotion, but the time never seems right. Murray also suggested making your mind a blank and seeing where that leads you. It’s the “stillness” without which literature cannot be made.
On the other hand, it seems strange to me that Vidal, of all people, would write a statement about writers losing time being active in the world, as he was quite “active.” Perhaps, his is a statement of regret. In the ’60’s he and Norman Mailer carried on a very public feud, often appearing on late-night television. Mailer even ran for mayor of New York! So, maybe it’s not so much about being active in the world as it is carving out time to write despite how active you are.
For me, writing happens when I have a deadline. I suppose I’m one of those writers who don’t write. I do write every day, but I only in my journal…a page or two. Is this writing? Or does writing count only when it is “out there” published and shared in some way?
I titled this “An Epiphany” but it’s not really, for I haven’t reached an epiphany so much as raised for myself other questions.