Excerpt from “Mailer’s Radical Bridge”

Published in Narrative 7 (Fall 1977), 170-88. “What is life but the angle of vision? A man is measured by the angle at which he looks at objects.” Emerson, “Natural History of Intellect” Norman Mailer’s development as a writer parallels at every point his growing awareness of the difficulty, and doubtful wisdom, of attempting to […]

I learned a great deal from writing classes. I don't sneer at them. . . . [W]hat is good is you get a wonderful sense of audience. . . . And it also chops down that terribly unstable vanity that young writers have, you know, where they think, "I'm a great writer," and at the same time they can't take a single criticism, and writing courses are good for that. They weather you. It's a little bit like a kid who wants to play varsity football but never tries out for the team. So you go to that writing class and you get toughened up a little.
Norman Mailer, interview The Academy of Achievement, June 12, 2004
I've written at times about the spooky element in writing. You go in each morning, and there's a blank page. Maybe it takes five minutes, maybe it takes an hour. Sooner or later you start writing, and then the words begin to flow. Where does that come from? You can't pinpoint it. You always wonder, "Will it all stop tomorrow?" In that sense it's spooky. In other words, you're relying on a phenomenon that's not necessarily dependable.
Norman Mailer, The Academy of Achievement, June 12, 2004

On the Writing Process

Mike talks about choosing to write.