Dorothy Parker claimed that she hated writing, but loved having written. For Stephen, though, the opposite held true. He enjoyed the act, the struggle, of writing, would at times work so furiously on a story or magazine article that he’d skip meals and appointments (sometimes knowingly, other times not). The most disappointing part of writing for him was reaching the end, whether it was a deadline or the realization that he could do no more to improve his work. For he would often feel that the words he composed had not fully realized his intention. “It’s like buying a sweater that fits and looks nice,” he once explained at a party, “but isn’t exactly what you want to wear, so you never take it out of the closet. That’s why I rarely read what I get published.” He would use cooking analogies as well to explain his dissatisfaction. “The meals I make look and smell great, but the taste — yes I’ll eat the whole thing, and probably cook it again, but it just leaves me full, not satisfied, feeling like I need a tasty snack, something to read that has a little more zest. Don’t know what I need — add some spicy figurative language, let my exposition bake longer — I just feel like language is my enemy, that I’m never able to express my thoughts, my feelings, completely.”


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