Four passages in "The Soloist" had an impact on me with regard to writing as a profession. The discussion of Lopez’s journalism career concerns resonated through the book, but I suspect that most readers would not pick this out as a significant theme. I am sensitized to the issues and was very much aware of the ongoing references to the author’s wrestling with concerns about career as I read the story.
The opening passage of Chapter 3 is perhaps the best of the book:
"The Sunday Paper slaps on my driveway with a thud that opens one eye, pays the mortgage and puts thirty years of work on the line. Last week’s columns are non-existent, zapped by a constant white-hot beam of news and information that blurs history. You are only as good or bad as your last attempt to make some connection with the world".
A few pages later Nathaniel’s comment is poignantly funny:
"Los Angeles Times. Mr. Steve Lopez. That’s an army, right? The L.A. Times?"
Nathaniel of course realizes that the pen is in fact mightier than the sword.
"one reason I write a column is for the privilege of vicariously sampling other worlds, dropping in with my passport and notebook and my curiosity".
I’ve always believed that I’m not the only writer with ADD tendencies.
"The challenge isn’t to figure out what to write. I realized, but why. Without a mission and a sense of whom you write for you are not worth reading".
I hope to remember these words for a long time to come.