“I promised you I would try,” Kornheiser said. “I promised you I would try. And I will try.”
“And I believe you,” Simmons said. “By the way, you don’t have to be just constricted to sports. You could write about the Killing if you want.”
“Love The Killing, but I’m a bad writer,” Kornheiser said. “And I’m not as smart as I used to be.”
“Stop it,” Simmons instructed, and the segment soon ended. So there you have it. They gave each other a pledge – Unheard of, absurd. They gave each other a pledge? Unthinkable.
Anyhow, earlier in the segment, Simmons discussed his attempts to recruit the writer William Goldman, and then played supportive therapist to Kornheiser’s neurotic patient.
Simmons: “You’re a much bigger issue, because when you sit in front of your computer and stare at an empty Word document, you actually break out in a cold sweat.”
Kornheiser: “That’s right.”
Simmons: “So I have to rehabilitate your confidence and keep talking you up, because I know you have stuff to say still.”
Kornheiser: “I don’t know. I mean, these fingers don’t type….”
Simmons: “You are a good writer. You’re a great writer.”
Kornheiser: “I was good. I’m no longer any good.”
Simmons: “Well listen. Your e-mails are entertaining, so it can’t be like you totally lost it.”
Kornheiser: “No, but I will happily send you e-mails and happily chat with you, but writing….You know, Tony LaRussa gets shingles. That could happen to me.”
Simmons: “Here’s my theory, and I think you and Goldman have the same issue. I think you both think you still can write, but there’s like a 20 percent thing inside you that’s saying ‘No, I’m gonna start typing, and nothing’s gonna be there, and then I’ll know definitively that I’m not a writer any more.’ So you don’t even want to try. So in your head, it’s like ‘I can still secretly write, but I don’t want to.’ ”
Kornheiser: “I watched this happen with people I respect. I watched it happen with two people, and I will mention their names. Roger Kahn and Gay Talese. Gay Talese was about the greatest newspaper and magazine writer I ever saw, and then I read stuff when he hadn’t written in while, I read some stuff that wasn’t quite as good as it used to be. The same was true with Roger Kahn. And I was faking people for years. I mean, I know I stink. I just don’t want to go out there and let everybody see it.”
Simmons: “But you still have, like, five or six things per year that I think you could write that would be original and interesting and be something that only you could write.”
Kornheiser: “Well, the only thing that I could write definitely that nobody else can say is ‘My name is Tony Kornheiser.’ And other than that….I don’t know. I don’t know, Bill.”
At this point, I would say Kornheiser writing for Grantland.com is 50/50.
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