The poet or the revolutionary is there to articulate the necessity, but until the people themselves apprehend it, nothing can happen.. Perhaps it can't be done without the poet, but it certainly can't be done without the people. The poet and the people get on generally very badly, and yet they need each other. The poet knows it sooner than the people do. The people usually know it after the poet is dead; but that's all right. The point is to get your work done, and your work is to change the world.
The main question to a novel is -- did it amuse? Were you surprised at dinner coming so soon? Did you mistake eleven for ten? Were you too late to dress? And did you sit up beyond the usual hour? If a novel produces these effects, it is good; if it does not -- story, language, love, scandal itself cannot save it. It is only meant to please; and it must do that or it does nothing.
Our exertions generally find no enduring physical correlatives. We are diluted in gigantic intangible collective projects, which leave us wondering what we did last year and, more profoundly, where we have gone and quite what we have amounted to.. How different everything is for the craftsman who.. Can step back at the end of a day or lifetime and point to an object--whether a square of canvas, a chair or a clay jug--and see it as a stable repository of his skills and an accurate record of his years, and hence feel collected together in one place, rather than strung out across projects which long ago evaporated into nothing one could hold or see.
Show me you care about our common tongue. Bring to your [writing] passion, deeply informed by knowledge of your subject. Stay me, not with apples and flagons, but with wit and grace, humor and intense caring about your discipline. Don't slack, don't give it a lick and a promise, don't make it evident that you posted what was 'good enough for government work,' don't try and fake it. Give it your best, your all, not for pence, but for the love of the craft. Do these things, as these writers and scores I have not named do, bring to your work your self, your heart, your voice, motherly or youthful, lawyerly or priestly, conservative or liberal, it matters not. Do this and I and hundreds of others will return again and again to your work, not merely because we may have a burning need for a new printer or an abiding interest in college newspapers or what have you, but because we wish to spend time with your mind and voice.