Letters written by Norman Mailer have been published by The Daily Beast. There are some good peeks behind the curtain, and some uplifting messages to young writers:
I’ve been planning for months to answer your letter with a real long one, and now that the time has come, I don’t know how far I’ll get, because I’m empty, vitiated, flat, bored, wrung out rag-like, and all the other states that I guess you know as well as me. I finally finished The Deer Park, and a trip like that I never want again. It was really weird, Jim. I had the book done last summer, and I wasn’t satisfied with it, but I’d worked my balls off for three years and I had come to figure well the hell with it, you can’t stay on one book all your life.
The word around town now is that I have cleaned it up, which of course is just about what one would expect after working your balls off, and making the novel more outrageous, more wild, more “it” than it was before. Anyway, I know what writer’s exhaustion is now. I have real post-delivery physical depression now.
Good to know that revisions kill him as much as they do me.