…I have struggled since the beginning to drive my thought out into the landscape of science and fact where other people converse logically and exchange judgments—but I go blind out there. So writing involves some dashing back and forth between the darkening landscape where facticity is strewn and a windowless room cleared of everything I do not know. It is the clearing that takes times. It is the clearing that is a mystery.
Once cleared the room writes itself. I copy down the names of everything left in it and note their activity.
—Anne Carson, “Note on Method” in “Economy of the Unlost”.
A shared passion for a subject, large or small, could quickly put two strangers into a special state of subdued rapture and rivalry, distantly resembling love; but you had to hit on the subject.
—Alan Hollinghurst, The Line of Beauty.