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E.L. Doctorow, writer, on:
being a hero"

E.L. Doctorow Desperation was the theme of his life. Completely, totally, and in every minute, that desperate desire to turn himself into something almost superhuman if he possibly could. But at the same time knowing the trickery that underlay it all, and therefore increasing the desperation, increasing the kinds of feats, the difficulty of feats he attempted, increasing his anxiety and his attempts to incorporate the real world in his act, and either by hanging upside-down alongside buildings or jumping into freezing rivers, and other ways involving the real world as an environment for his stunts. That was all an attempt to cross over from show business into a genuine state of heroism and accomplishment. And of course, he could never do it

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