Is writing a socially responsible way to spend your life? … I was changed by literature, not by cautionary or exhortatory literature, but by the truth as I found it in literature. I recognize the world in a different way because of it, and I continue to be influenced in that way by it. Opened up, made more alert, and called to a greater truthfulness in my own accounting of things, not just in my writing, in my life as well. It did that for me, and does that for me, and no one touched by it in this way should have any doubt of its necessity. Yet we writers do doubt, constantly. It’s one of the conditions of our employment. Poor us. Poor us because lucky us—we have the leisure to devil ourselves with questions like this.
Tobias Wolff, Author, born June 19, 1945