As John Cheever put it: “I can’t write without a reader. It’s precisely like a kiss — you can’t do it alone.”But if it's precisely like a kiss, isn't the hobbyist exactly what you want? Worrying about falling advances and people who don’t need it to earn a living? Prostitutes don't kiss!
The troubling thought occurs, however, that this last remaining cohabitant may also be about to depart the island. With falling advances, writing is evermore dominated by people who don’t need it to earn a living: Tenured academics and celebrities spring to mind. For these groups, burnishing a résumé or marketing a brand is often as important as satisfying the reader.
And then there are the hobbyists, those for whom writing is primarily an act of self-expression....
January 5, 2014
"On the desolate beach that is the lot of the contemporary book reader, the footprints of one companion can still be found."
"They belong to the writer, who needs the reader not just to pay her or his wages but also to give meaning to their words."