“When I started out writing for the New Yorker I was living in a farmhouse in central Minnesota, because it was so cheap. It really removed a lot of the pressure of having to sell-sell-sell. I loved it there. I was desperately lonely, but that’s not a bad thing.
I was sitting in a room upstairs at a desk that was a sheet of three-quarter-inch plywood across two used file cabinets, looking at an Underwood typewriter, and typing on yellow paper. It was a contemplative life that had great, deep pleasure. I wouldn’t know how to recover it today.
This, for me, is how the world has changed, that a man sits at a desk in utter silence, and the phone line is simply the phone line. Somebody calls, and you don’t have to answer it. You sit in silence, and hours pass and you tap-tap-tap-tap at a typewriter. I will never, ever recover that life. It’s gone forever. And the college students I know will never know that life.”