When I look at the lives of the poets, I understand what’s wrong with me. They were willing to make the sacrifices that I’m not willing to make. They were so tortured, so messed up.
I’m only a little messed up. I’m tortured to the point where I don’t sleep very well sometimes, and I don’t answer mail as I should. Sometimes I feel a languor of spirit when I get an email asking me to do something. Also, I’ve run up a significant credit-card debt. But that’s not real self-torture.
Nicholson Baker, The Anthologist, Simon & Schuster 2009. p. 25.