That's the difference between the serious artist and the craftsman--the craftsman can take material and because of his abilities do a professional job of it. The serious artist, like Proust, is like an object caught by a wave and swept to shore. He's obsessed by his material; it's like a venom working in his blood and the art is the antidote.
There is really no practical help that one can offer; it is a matter of self-discovery, of one's own convictions, or working with one's own work; your style is what seems natural to you. It is a long process of discovery, one that never ends. I am working at it, and will be as long as I live.
One day, I started writing, not knowing that I had chained myself for life to a noble but merciless master. When God hands you a gift, he also hands you a whip; and the whip is intended solely for self-flagellation... I'm here alone in my dark madness, all by myself with my deck of cards - and, of course, the whip God gave me.
But, my dear, so few things are fulfilled: what are most lives but a series of incompleted episodes? 'We work in the dark, we do what we can, we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task...' It is wanting to know the end that makes us believe in God, or witchcraft, believe, at least, in something.
Some cities, like wrapped boxes under Christmas trees, conceal unexpected gifts, secret delights. Some cities will always remain wrapped boxes, containers of riddles never to be solved, nor even to be seen by vacationing visitors, or, for that matter, the most inquisitive, persistent travelers.
The instant she saw the letter she squinted her eyes and bent her lips in a tough tiny smile that advanced her age immeasurably. "Darling," she instructed me, "would you reach in the drawer there and give me my purse. A girl doesn't read this sort of thing without her lipstick.
Even an attorney of moderate talent can postpone doomsday year after year, for the system of appeals that pervades American jurisprudence amounts to a legalistic wheel of fortune, a game of chance, somewhat fixed in the favor of the criminal, that the participants play interminably.