Catch-22

From a series of interviews with Catch-22 author Joseph Heller, friends, and co-workers from his former job at the McCall ad agency.

For two hours almost every night, five nights a week, for seven years, Heller wrote his novel. Once, for two weeks, he quit in disgust, turned to television and other past times, finally bored himself stiff. "What do people who are not writing novels do with their evenings?” he asked his wife, and then returned to novel-writing.

Friends who summered with the Hellers on Long Beach, Long Island, remember that Joe and Shirley always left parties very early. "The novel, you know,” people would say significantly after they’d gone.

“Don’t forget, Joe worked on his own escape, that novel, for over eight years.”

Or, put another way: something small every day.