“Aspiring authors, take note.
Nothing secures a literary legacy like an over-sized personality to match the work. On some level, we want our artists to behave badly, feuding with critics and wearing, perhaps, less clothing than appropriate in public. We want to believe that being a talented, successful writer isn’t just another job, like being a plumber or an accountant—it’s a lifestyle, or maybe even a curse.
Ultimately, the actual writing of the book isn’t what’s interesting to most people. If you can type, you can put words on a page. What we look for in the dramatic lives of artists is a hint of the origin of genius. Who wants to hear that what it takes to write a generation-defining novel is eight hours a day of work for three years, plus an editor worth her weight in gold? And if you’re going to write a best-seller, please, for the love of schadenfreude, don’t be a model of health and decorum as well. That’s just too much.”