For slowly but surely, I came to recognize how I had experienced two of the madnesses, all through the experience of creative inspiration, even though it was in the diluted form of being an amateur. It was the mild madness that came with me trying to be a writer. There was another madness I experienced, but this one came from me experiencing an artwork by an artist that was creatively inspired. This is the madness I think everyone has experienced in varying degrees.
An essay rejecting Cohen's claim that poetry is not controlled or commanded by its creator.
The craft of writing is learned through the practice of writing. It is necessary to write constantly in every spare moment. You may be writing inside your thoughts, but you are writing as surely as if you had paper and pen before you. Is this not obvious?
Writers are the eyes of a society that is blind, the ears of a society that is deaf, and the tongue of a society that is dumb. For their service to society writers receive no thanks, nor do they expect any. Literature matters because it offers the continuity of purpose and the depth of meaning that the surface spectacle cannot provide.
A line of Robert Frost’s read long ago retains its appeal to me: ‘May something always go unharvested.’ He is writing of the apples he picks from the trees in the fall. The fall - that resonant American word for the late time of year before winter closes everything down. It is a time of abundance, a gathering of fruit especially. The apples fall from the trees, followed by the leaves. Then it is winter.
Human nature can be, at times, hypocritical. Throughout the evolution of our species, we have developed the mental capacity to understand when something appears to be dangerous or beautiful, yet we seem to be drawn to things which are simultaneously both. Like sirens calling us to abandon our ships and swim away from safety.
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