November 7, 2011


In the November issue of “Vanity Fair” Robert Loomis, a recently retired book editor with Random House, tells a story about the author Jackie Collins. When asked why she became a writer she retorted the reason was because her husband gave her a typewriter for her birthday. “If he’d given me a violin,” she explained, “I’d be performing at Carnegie Hall.”  (“Vanity Fair” 11/2011)

Loomis’ point is that a writer needs self-confidence to survive a career. Certainly he will be subjected to all the abuse and insults the psyche is heir. Anyone who follows this blog may remember more than one example of a best-selling author  insulted by an agent or a publisher at least once during his career. 

Where Dietrich sang “Falling in Love Again”

Unfortunately, few writers will become best sellers. A very few will make a living from their work. It doesn’t matter. People write because the desire to communicate is part of the human DNA and when that need is coupled with a love of language, then the consequence is inevitable. When asked if a writer ever retires, Loomis answered:

      “No, they cannot…  A writer has no way of saying, ‘OK, I’ve done it.’ It isn’t a profession that writers feel they can withdraw from honorably. They just can’t.” 

Of course, writers aren’t unique. Anyone driven by a passion feels the same. To love intensely, even when it hurts, is the paradox and gift of a meaningful life.

* Music & English Lyrics by Friedrich Hollaender and Sammy Lerner