“At best you affect the consciousness of your time, and so indirectly you affect the history of the time which succeeds you. Of course, you need patience. It takes a long time for sentiments to collect into an action and often they never do. Which is why I was once so ready to conceive of running for mayor of New York. I wanted to make actions rather than effect sentiments. But I’ve come to the middle-aged conclusion that I’m probably better as a writer than a man of action.”

Norman Mailer/Jimmy Breslin Mayoral campaign poster.