What few young writers realize, it seems to me, is that they must find—create, invent!—the way to reach their readers.
It isn’t enough to write a good book, a beautiful book, or even a better book than most. One has to establish, or re-establish, a unity which has been broken and which is felt just as keenly by the reader, who is a potential artist, as by the writer, who believes himself to be an artist . . . . The writer who wants to communicate with his fellow-man, and thereby establish communion with him, has only to speak with sincerity and directness. He has not to think about literary standards—he will make them as he goes along—he has not to think about trends, vogues, markets, acceptable or unacceptable ideas: he has only to deliver himself, naked and vulnerable. All that constricts and restricts him, to use the language of not-ness, his fellow-reader, even though he may not be an artist, feels with equal despair and bewilderment. The world presses down on all alike. Men are not suffering from the lack of good literature, good art, good theatre, good music, but from that which has made it impossible for these to manifest. In short, they are suffering from the silent, shameful conspiracy (the more shameful since it is unacknowledged) which has bound them together as enemies of art and artists. They are suffering from the fact that art is not the primary, moving force in their lives. They are suffering from the act, repeated daily, of keeping up the pretense that they can go their way, lead their lives, without art. They never dream—or they behave as if they never realize—that the reason why they feel sterile, frustrated and joyless is because art (and with it the artist) has been ruled out of their lives. For every artist who has been assassinated thus (unwittingly?) thousands of ordinary citizens, who might have known a normal joyous life, are condemned to lead the purgatorial existence of neurotics, psychotics, schizophrenics. No, the man who is about to blow his top does not have to fix his eye on the Iliad, the Divine Comedy, or any other great model; he has only to give us, in his own language, the saga of his woes and tribulations, the saga of his non-existentialism . . .
Such is the picture which doesn’t always come clear through the televistic screen. The negative, in other words, from which all that is positive, good and lasting will eventually come through. Easy to recognize because no matter where your parachute lands you it’s always the same: the everyday life.
—Henry Miller, Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch