I know that pain is the most important thing in the universes. Greater than survival, greater than love, greater even than the beauty it brings about. For without pain, there can be no pleasure. Without sadness, there can be no happiness. Without misery there can be no beauty. And without these, life is endless, hopeless, doomed and damned. Adult. You have become adult.
It is not merely enough to love literature if one wishes to spend one's life as a writer. It is a dangerous undertaking on the most primitive level. For, it seems to me, the act of writing with serious intent involves enormous personal risk. It entails the ongoing courage for self-discovery. It means one will walk forever on the tightrope, with each new step presenting the possiblity of learning a truth about oneself that is too terrible to bear.
The only thing worth writing about is people. People. Human beings. Men and women whose individuality must be created, line by line, insight by insight. If you do not do it, the story is a failure. [...] There is no nobler chore in the universe than holding up the mirror of reality and turning it slightly, so we have a new and different perception of the commonplace, the everyday, the 'normal', the obvious. People are reflected in the glass. The fantasy situation into which you thrust them is the mirror itself. And what we are shown should illuminate and alter our perception of the world around us. Failing that, you have failed totally.
When you're all alone out there, on the end of the typewriter, with each new story a new appraisal by the world of whether you can still get it up or not, arrogance and self-esteem and deep breathing are all you have. It often looks like egomania. I assure you it's the bold coverup of the absolutely terrified.
I mean, what do you do, when you find that things are not what you were taught they’re supposed to be? What do you do with the desperation that boils up from your stomach when you know there’s a road out there with your destination at the end of it, but it’s too damned dark to even find the road? You turn and turn and turn around like a dog trying to escape. Shrieks in the cavity of your head that so urgently needs to be filled with facts and challenges. Until you get grabbed up by the back of the neck, and something’s got you that points you off into the murk. Run like a muthuh! And one day it gets lighter and you see you’ve managed to escape the slammer and bad scenes, and you’re heading toward being a Writer of Stature, or something equally as lovely.
Time is like a river flowing endlessly through the universe. And if you poled your flatboat in that river you might fight your way against the current and travel upstream into the past. Or go with the flow and rush into the future. This was in a less cynical time before toxic waste dumping and pollution filled the waterway of Chronus with the detritus of empty hours wasted minutes years of repetition and time that has been killed.