A man who writes a story is forced to put into it the best of his knowledge
and the best of his feeling. The discipline of the written word punishes both
stupidity and dishonesty. A writer lives in awe of words for they can be cruel
or kind, and they can change their meanings right in front of you. They pick up
flavors and odors like butter in a refrigerator. Of course, there are dishonest
writers who go on for a little while, but not for long—not for long.
A writer out of loneliness is trying to communicate like a distant star sending
signals. He isn't telling or teaching or ordering. Rather he seeks to establish a
relationship of meaning, of feeling, of observing. We are lonesome animals.
We spend all life trying to be less lonesome. One of our ancient methods is to
tell a story begging the listener to say —and to feel—
“Yes, that's the way it is, or at least that's the way I feel it. You're not as
alone as you thought.”
Of course a writer rearranges life, shortens time intervals, sharpens events, and
devises beginnings, middles and ends. We do have curtains—in a day, morning, noon
and night, in a man, birth, growth and death. These are curtain rise and curtain fall,
but the story goes on and nothing finishes.
To finish is sadness to a writer—a little death. He puts the last word down
and it is done. But it isn't really done. The story goes on and leaves the writer
behind, for no story is ever done.