81.9

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Norman Mailer: Works and Days
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“A Sinister Occupation.” Book Digest Magazine, April, 20, 22–24, 27–29. Essay on the “spooky” psychology of writing; includes comment on reviews, royalties, ego, early success and fear of failure. He concludes: “I am still getting up my nerve at the age of fifty-seven to take a deep breath and tell the only personal story that any of us ever have, the true story of my own life and its curious turns, and all its private parts, yes, to look into the mirror and begin to write. Oh, what a fear is that.” This little-known essay, with many changes (including the excision of the sentence quoted), is the foundation of a longer essay, “The Hazards and Sources of Writing” (85.4).