Writing is bad for you
I’m not sure about the improving influence of reading, but I’m certain that writing brings out the worst in me
Shadowy occupation … a typewriter. Photograph: Corbis
We live in a literary environment that – a little uneasily, I often think – feels the need to justify the reading and study of imaginative literature. That is understandable, for writers and readers often have to stand up and fight for what they care passionately about. We believe it is good for us, it must be good for us, this force we attribute to the enterprise of reading and writing. A wide exposure to great literature, it is claimed, provides a basis upon which we may feel more deeply, understand more widely, become better.