Lipton’s Journal/February 10, 1955/556
This can help to explain the difficult condition of the novice writer. Over and over I’ve noticed that young writers, or old young writers, for that matter, cannot seem to understand why their work, which to the reader is banal, thin, and uninspired, is so magnificent and powerful to them. The answer is of course simple. Their work is highly un-social and private. What has happened is that they have mistaken the intensity and beauty of their thought for the drab expression in words. “He felt old and sad and alone,” seems to them to convey the state of old-age as it has never been conveyed before. The sophisticated reader who demands that thought be trapped as closely as possible, or he will not respond to it with his own thought, considers the work puerile. Part of becoming a writer is to develop a more and more intense conception of the particular inaccurate word which is least inaccurate—at least for oneself; one can hardly estimate the value of words for others.