I used to spend hours trying to explain this to my students at Boston College, who were forever confusing emotional evasion with literary restraint. To the stubborn ones, I often issued an order that I received years ago, from an elderly writer who had suffered my own wretched early burps of prose. The only thing that matters is the thing you can't stop thinking about, he told me. Dress it up how ever you like, son, but tell me the goddamn truth.
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This quote was added January 9, 2008.