What writers can be like to live with

“There are those who like to sail alone around the world; they shut themselves up in towers to write or watch for fires; in huts encased in ice, they give up their lives to loneliness; who hunt for pelts in the mountains or are driven with aimless intensity from place to place like sand through a desert; fly solo, take to the woods.  Searching for a second self, they dislike distraction.  They want something to pit their strength against: angel or shade or element of nature that will assume the shape, and become the substance, of their enemy within.” — William H. Gass, “On Heroes and Tombs,” from A Temple of Texts

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