Social Insecurities and FOMO, 1954 Version

Mary McCarthy:

Saul Bellow was here too, with son and dog, not very friendly, either. In short, last month was rather paranoid, which got me rattled. That’s the worst of places like this, your value is continually being called into question and you shiver at social slights, even from people you don’t care for. And all your friends are eager to tell you, on the beach, about parties you aren’t invited to. You can’t avoid knowing just what your current status is, unless you stay in the house with the door locked. Even then you would have to emerge to buy groceries and in the store you would meet Mrs. Kazin, Mrs. Levin, Mr. Bellow, Mrs Wechsler, etc.“

A letter to Hannah Arendt, from Wellfleet, MA, August 1954. Between Friends: The Correspondence of Hannah Arendt and Mary McCarthy, 1949-1975, p. 20