Roald Dahl, Matilda
“Mr Hemingway says a lot of things I don’t understand,” Matilda said to her. “Especially about men and women. But I loved it all the same. The way he tells it I feel I am right there on the spot watching it all happen.”
“A fine writer will always make you feel that,” Mrs Phelps said. “And don’t worry about the bits you can’t understand. Sit back and allow the words to wash around you, like music.”
John Ashbery, “The New Spirit”
I thought that if I could put it all down, that would be one way. And next the thought came to me that to leave all out, would be another, and truer, way.
Iris Murdoch, Henry and Cato, 1976
All artists dream of a silence which they must enter, as some creatures return to the sea to spawn.
Sigmund Freud, Civilisation and its Discontents
Writing was in its origin the voice of an absent person; and the dwelling-house was a substitute for the mother’s womb, the first lodging, for which in all liklihood man still longs, and in which he was safe and felt at ease.
Henry de Montherlant, Don Juan:
“Happiness writes in white ink on a white page.”
“Le bonheur écrit à l’encre blanche sur des pages blanches.”
Marcel Duchamp, “The Creative Act” (1957)
In the creative act, the artist goes from intention to realization through a chain of totally subjective reactions. His struggle toward the realization is a series of efforts, pains, satisfaction, refusals, decisions, which also cannot and must not be fully self-conscious, at least on the esthetic plane.
The result of this struggle is a difference between the intention and its realization, a difference which the artist is not aware of.
Consequently, in the chain of reactions accompanying the creative act, a link is missing. This gap, representing the inability of the artist to express fully his intention, this difference between what he intended to realize and did realize, is the personal ‘art coefficient’ contained in the work.
In other words, the personal ‘art coefficient’ is like a arithmetical relation between the unexpressed but intended and the unintentionally expressed.
What art is in reality is this missing link [between intention and realization], not the links which exist. It’s not what you see that is art, art is the gap. I like this idea and even if it’s not true, I accept it for the truth.
Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet
Everything we do, in art and life, is the imperfect copy of what we intended.