Of Thomas Wolfe & Melissinos

Thomas Wolfe on writer’s vocation:

“For sleep was dead forever, the merciful, dark and sweet oblivions of childhood sleep.

The worm had entered at my heart, the worm lay coiled and feeding at my brain, my spirit, and my memory — I knew that finally I had been caught in my own fire, consumed by my own hungers, impaled on the hook of that furious and insensate desire than had absorbed my life for years.

I knew, in short, that one bright cell in the brain or heart or memory would now blaze on forever — by night, by day, through every waking, sleeping moment of my life, the worm would feed and the light be lit, — that no anodyne of food or drink, or friendship, travel, sport or woman could ever quench it, and that never more until death put its total and conclusive darkness upon my life, could I escape.

I knew at last I had become a writer: I knew at last what happens to a man who makes the writer’s life his own.”

But I woke up this morning to looming hearing dates, screaming clients, unanswered affidavits and 30 email messages. I stick to what the poet-sandal maker, Stavros Melissinos, said:

“A writer who does nothing but write is like the moon, which gives off some light, but borrowed from the sun. A writer needs first-hand experience, which only working in another field can give him. Otherwise he is rewriting what he has read in other books.”