But writers experience the world and themselves in a unique way. We look for meaning. We see it even when we are not paying attention, which is seldom because, as writers, paying attention is what we do. We are scribes to the ticking of the days, and we have a job to do. We are not at peace unless we are doing it.
A very young painter is seldom alone. If he is an art student, he is in an art school with other students. He does not yet know that one day he will have to face himself as a solitary creature enclosed in a space of four walls. . . and that he will have to be a self-propelled being, with no one at is side.
Cops never took anything on faith, and disbelieved every story that was told them on principle until and unless they could confirm that the story was fact in all its essentials, and even then remained wary and unconvinced. Cop shops bred skeptics. Skeptics cherished few illusions about human nature, and therefore were seldom disappointed.
Whoever is wise is apt to suspect and be diffident of himself, and upon that account is willing to "hearken unto counsel"; whereas the foolish man, being in proportion to his folly full of himself, and swallowed up in conceit, will seldom take any counsel but his own, and for that very reason, because it is his own.
And that desire-the strong desire to take pictures-is important. It borders on a need, based on a habit: the habit of seeing. Whether working or not, photographers are looking, seeing, and thinking about what they see, a habit that is both a pleasure and a problem, for we seldom capture in a single photograph the full expression of what we see and feel. It is the hope that we might express ourselves fully-and the evidence that other photographers have done so-that keep us taking pictures.
If I do not seem to be mentioning anything I’ve read lately, it is because I am in one of those periods of undifferentiated flux or something in which I am reading about fifty, at a minimum, books at once, so of course I seldom finish one. Eventually this phase will pass, and I’ll discover I have about ten pages to go in all of them, and will sit down and systematically finish them, one after another.