September 26

Some editors are failed writers, but then so are most writers.

- T. S. Eliot

Here's one brilliant writing career that was launched by a physical inadequacy. T. S. Eliot, passionate collegiate boxer, finally gave up the sport: "I was too slow a mover. It was much easier to be a poet."

The rest, of course, is literary history . . . although Eliot himself was never completely sure he made the right decision. He once gave voice to that ultimate anxiety, the cold-sweat fear that awakens writers in the dead of night: "No honest poet can ever feel quite sure of the permanence of what he has written: he may have wasted his time and messed up his life for nothing."