Do writers need to be outsiders?

Marcel_Proust_1900-2I think it helps a writer if you are something of an ‘outsider’ looking in – I’ve always felt a little that way myself and I believe it has helped me write.

I remember a literary critic offering the view that the best writers spend a short time immersed in ‘society’ and then a longer time outside of it, presumably in their room, writing – he offered Proust as an example of this effect.

Well I’m no Proust, but it’s a notion which rings true with me in some ways – not because I have at some period been part of a mad social whirl, then found myself excluded from it with only a pen and a Moleskine notebook for comfort, but because I am the sort of person who can feel a little detached even when surrounded by people.

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