Air Head

January 25, 2016 Nathan Heller Flight

Nathan Heller, writing for The New Yorker, on the similarities between flying and writing.

The start of a flight heralds a game afoot. The rush is skittish and improbable. A freighted mass of metal rattling down the runway gains a sudden burst of speed and, in a small, miraculous gasp, loses its weight, rises, and soars, enacting careful turns and radio coördinations that accrue toward effortlessness. On the ground, on landing, it’s again a metal hulk; the metamorphosis reverses itself. A part of me is sure I’ll die at every takeoff, yet I need to feel that panic and lift or I’m hopeless. Flight is the best metaphor for writing that I know.”

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