Hard writing makes easy reading.
We have been cut off, the past has been ended and the family has broken up and the present is adrift in its wheelchair. ... That is no gap between the generations, that is a gulf. The elements have changed, there are whole new orders of magnitude and kind. [...] My grandparents had to live their way out of one world and into another, or into several others, making new out of old the way corals live their reef upward. I am on my grandparents' side. I believe in Time, as they did, and in the life chronological rather than in the life existential. We live in time and through it, we build our huts in its ruins, or used to, and we cannot afford all these abandonings.
No life goes past so swiftly as an eventless one, no clock spins like a clock whose days are all alike.
I can't see that Danish episode as an adventure, or a crisis survived, or a serious quest for anything definable. It was just another happening like today's luncheon, something I got into and got out of. And it reminds me too much of how little life changes: how, without dramatic events or high resolves, without tragedy, without even pathos, a reasonably endowed, reasonably well-intentioned man can walk through the world's great kitchen from end to end and arrive at the back door hungry.
Talent lies around in us like kindling waiting for a match, but some people, just as gifted as others, are less lucky. Fate never drops a match on them. The times are wrong, or their health is poor, or their energy low, or their obligations too many. Something.
Grub Street turns out good things almost as often as Parnassus. For if a writer is hard up enough, if he’s far down enough (down where I have been and am rising from, I am really saying), he can’t afford self-doubt and he can’t let other people’s opinions, even a father’s, keep him from writing.