TERRY GROSS: So if [writing] is so hard, why do it?
PHILIP ROTH: Well, that’s a question I ask myself too. I’ve been doing it since 1955. So that’s 55 years. It’s hard to give up something you’ve been doing for 55 years, which has been at the center of your life, where you spend six, eight, sometimes ten hours a day. And I always have worked every day, and I’m kind of a maniac, you know. How could a maniac give up what he does? Tell me.
GROSS: Is that seven days a week, like Saturday and Sunday?
ROTH: Yeah, I usually do, yeah.
GROSS: That is obsessive.
ROTH: Give it its right name. It’s maniacal.