"There is nothing finer than deciding to write..."
That's the lead of The Accidental Life and also the impetus behind a series of columns about writing, writers, and editing.
Depending on how well you write and how often you publish or change jobs or assignments, other writers come in and out of your life. Some of them are already famous and others will be soon, but celebrity doesn’t matter because you know something together—the private thrill that comes from writing a clear and unique sentence. The craft of it. James Salter liked to “rub words in his hand, to turn them around and feel them.”
Writing is exactly that, and there is no work like it because it is so complicated to know when you are done. Riffing about writing journalism, Renata Adler wrote, in her novel Speedboat, about giving “a piece of sugar to a raccoon, which in its odd fastidiousness would wash that sugar in a brook till there was nothing left.” Editors can help with that.
The Accidental Life is available now in paperback from Vintage Books.