“Only Those Things Preserved in Writing…”

From an essay, Some for Glory, Some for Praise, about life as a combat pilot and writer, by James Salter:

The cynics say that if you do not write for money you are a dabbler or a fool, but this is not true. To see one’s work in print is the real desire, to have it read.

…in grammar school we had to memorize and then stand up and recite well-known poems….Language is acquired, like other things, through the act of imitating, and rhythm and elegance may come in part from poems.

The Korean war broke out. When I was sent over I took a small typewriter with me, thinking that if I was killed, the pages I had been writing would be a memorial.

Why was I writing? It was not for glory; I had seen what I took to be real glory.

There comes a time when you realize that everything is a dream, and only those things preserved in writing have any possibility of being real.







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