Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

William Styron on leaving his first job

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When, in the autumn of 1947, I was fired from the first and only job I have ever held, I wanted one thing out of life: to become a writer. I left my position as manuscript reader at the McGraw-Hill Book Company with no regrets; the job had been onerous and boring. It did not occur to me that there would be many difficulties to impede my ambition; in fact, the job itself had been an impediment. All I knew was that I burned to write a novel and I could not have cared less that my bank account was close to zero, with no replenishment in sight. At the age of twenty-two I had such pure hopes in my ability to write not just a respectable first novel, but a novel that would be completely out of the ordinary, that when I left the McGraw-Hill Building for the last time I felt the exultancy of a man just released from slavery and ready to set the universe on fire.

William Styron, This Quiet Dust and Other Writings

Written by nevalalee

September 17, 2011 at 9:23 am

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