Saturday, May 12, 2007

A question.

Can you think of any excellent writer (someone you personally would consider exceptionally talented, perceptive, possessed of the capacity for profound insight) who has had an "easy life"? This is not a rhetorical question--I'm not trying to make a point about adversity building character or something--but a literal one. Not just a normal life, but a really easy one--born wealthy, no significant family tragedies, no persecution, no hardships. Is there anyone? Martin Amis, maybe?

[5/13 7:25 pm] A good friend argues that Shakespeare and Ray Bradbury might be said to have had lives like this.


Richard said...

I don't know any human creature, writer or not, who has had an "easy" life.

People, myself included, have very pleasant, enjoyable, fulfilling lives -- but I would not call anyone's life "easy."

Because it's comedy, life is hard. Dying is easy.

Or should be.

Richard said...

And no son of Kingsley Amis could have an easy life.

Alex said...

Leo Tolstoy. Just a really, really rich fucker who never had to worry about much of anything, ever.

There must be some other aristocratic dabbler-authors who were actually really good.

Tom said...

Kazuo Ishiguro
Ian McEwan

Tao Lin said...

emotionally easy, no, but as for wealth and things like that...

lorrie moore
joy williams
todd hasak lowy
matthew rohrer
lydia davis

based on what i know. i don't really know much about those people.

Nick said...

Tolstoy--interesting. I think of his ten year crisis before The Death of Ivan Ilych and, come to think of it, hard to imagine he would've had time for that crisis if you had to, you know, do peasant work.

Richard, I wonder if you are right that no one, ever, has an "easy" life. Can this be true? It is of course relative. Everyone will find something to worry about--always. By the standards of most of planet earth my life has been easy--middle-class, no starving, no major traumas. I feel like a lot of young people I know, particularly through school, have easy lives--wealthy parents, childhoods in opulent NYC apartments, freedom to do whatever.

McEwan and Ishiguro. I don't know anything about their backgrounds. Interesting.

Lorrie Moore. Really? I guess it makes a sort of sense. Her concerns are of aimlessness and disaffection with one's peers, not, you know, the concerns of Steinbeck characters.

Greg said...

Nicholson Baker.

Nick said...

Oh--interesting call on Baker.

Andrew said...

Edith Wharton?

Ned said...


My dad told me that Flaubert lay in his mom's salon all day and wrote like a sentence a day while she doted on him, but my dad is always making shit up.

And that hits a little close to home.