A writer-editor-teacher’s quote of the week #125

Most readers are content to stay readers, which is probably best. Writing, like drug use, escalates. Not every constitution can stand it, especially when you resolve to make writing a job. That usually entails making reading a job, since most writers make a living off some form of professional reading: reviewing, translating, editing, teaching. If this would have sounded dreamy to my zealous 14-year-old self, the reality, I discovered, was less electrifying.

For me and for many writers, the problem is not that things one does for a living are less fun than hobbies pursued in the off hours, or that the more one has read the higher one’s standards become— though both are true. The problem is that the deeper you go into your own writing, the harder it becomes to enter someone else’s. If pursued seriously, writing demands a kind of obsessive concentration that came, at least for me, to preclude reading.

– from Benjamin Moser’s answer to the Bookends page question, “Is it harder to be transported by a book as you get older?” in The New York Times Book Review.

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