Crystals grew inside rock like arithmetic flowers. They lengthened and spread, added plane to plane in an awed and perfect obedience to an absolute geometry that even stones - maybe only the stones - understood.
The universe that suckled us is a monster that does not care if we live or die--it does not care if it itself grinds to a halt. It is a beast running on chance and death, careening from nowhere to nowhere. It is fixed and blind, a robot programmed to kill. We are free and seeing; we can only try to outwit it at every turn to save our lives.
By dipping us children in the Bible so often, they hoped, I think, to give our lives a serious tint, and to provide us with quaintly magnificent snatches of prayer to produce as charms while, say, being mugged for our cash or jewels.
You are wrong if you think that you can in any way take the vision and tame it... The vision is not so much destroyed, exactly, as it is, by the time you have finished, forgotten. It has been replaced by this changeling.
You can, in short, lead the life of the mind, which is, despite some appalling frustrations, the happiest life on earth. And one day, in the thick of this, approaching some partial vision, you will (I swear) find yourself on the receiving end of - of all things - an "idea for a story," and you will, God save you, start thinking about writing some fiction of your own. Then you will understand, in what I fancy might be a blinding flash, that all this passionate thinking is what fiction is about, that all those other fiction writers started as... Read more »
Whenever an encounter between a writer of good will and a regular person of good will happens to touch on the subject of writing, each person discovers, dismayed, that good will is of no earthly use. The conversation cannot proceed.