Real writers are miSFIts. If you are a real writer, you are an eternal outsider. You make it your life’s work to get inside and describe what you see. But the very intention to describe sets you apart. None of those people who really belong intend to describe where they belong. They are living it. We are peering in through the peephole of our craft. 


So real writers are destined to be alone, belonging nowhere, because they–we–can never be true insiders. The real world is always at a distance, on the end of a stick, and the stick is the pencil with which we write our descriptions. 


I spell the word miSFIts with those funny capital letters, because I’ve been writing a book about the Santa Fe Institute, and it is a home for misfit scientists who could never be insiders at conventional academic institutions.