To spend the majority of your time crafting artificial symbols on a surface—whether your medium is stone, paper, or pixels—will always be a curious behavior.
Your piece calls up a contrary view in the late Christopher Hitchens, who was no slouch of a writer. I’ve read accounts of his seemingly effortless ability to drink like a fish and then sit down and bang out a brilliant essay before deadline. Where Didion labored, Hitchens flowed. Or so it appeared. But perhaps Hitchens wasn’t writing his best? Maybe he was just proficient, and if he’d been more sober and managed his time better some of those essays would have truly soared? But then Hitchens was more about politics and polemics compared to Didion’s deep eloquence.