You need to install the X server
to enable a graphical desktop environment or a window manager. You would not necessarily need to use Gnome, but you would need some gnome libraries--any window manager, even something very simple like TWM, would be enough.
If you don't want to do that and don't feel up to learning vi/vim (the learning curve is rather steep, but I consider it worth it in the long run), you could use nano
, which is a command line program that is reminiscent of the old DOS Editor, if you have ever encountered that. You would not need to install X to run nano.