What motivates so many of us to write in the first place is, to begin with, a great passion for a subject (Tennessee Williams, Balanchine, jazz, the twentieth-century novel, whatever) that we find beautiful; and then, a kind of corresponding anxiety about the fragility of that beauty.
4 thoughts on “Quote of the Day”
Not the last bit. I write because I want to know how something works. I want to know where the cogs and gears fit.
Yes … and yet there is something in that quote that I recognise. The idea that I responded to a work in the way that I did because of who I am, and when and how I read it, and wanting to communicate that response to preserve something of it.
The post I got the quote from takes it as a comment on the scarcity of true greatness; I’m not sure I relate to that so much.
I don’t think there’s necessarily a distinction between fearing for the fragile beauty of something (certainly something that I recognise), and wanting to know how it works (which I also recognise). It’s the same approach that necessarily starts with taking delight in something, and then moves on to wanting to know what is the true source of that delight, and whether the delight can be recaptured. We take things apart not to destroy them, but to isolate and identify what makes them wonderful.
Thatfragility being, the moment you touch it, try to write about it, put your imagiantion upon it, it changes into something else entirely. You invest it with your concerns and needs. It becomes the thing plus your imagining. It’s a kind of Copenhagen interpretation of subject matter.