Home » Mistakes » Norman Mailer : boxing, writing and the role of ‘man’

Norman Mailer : boxing, writing and the role of ‘man’

I take notes from a biography I’ve just read on Norman Mailer; their aren’t many:

Norman Mailer on a wife, ‘He won’t have anything to do with a woman who has a career.’ Sounds like my late father; he had to be a kept man.

He spent six weeks during the break up with his fourth wife trying to look after four children. He claimed he could have done it for years if necessary,’but in no uncertainty that the most interesting part of his mind and heart was condemned to dry on the vine. So he could not know whether he would have found it endurable to be born a woman or if it would have driven him out onto the drear avenues of the insane.’ I’m sure that looking after kids is both physically and mentally draining. But perhaps this is just one of my many excuses not to write a thousand words a day (let alone a thousand words an hour).

Mailer was interested in boxing an expression of ego

On writing. When he taught Jose Torres he ‘was teaching me not how to think or what to think but to think.’

In a Life piece on an Ali-Joe Frazier fight in Madison Square Gardens Mailer said that ego was ‘that extraordinary state of the psyche which gives us authority to declare we are sure of ourselves when we are not.’


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