[T]here is a certain diffidence about me, not very obvious socially, to my own mind, that prevents me from going all out, as you call it, [in writing]. I assemble the dynamite but I am not ready to touch off the fuse. Why? Because I am working toward something and have not yet arrived. I once mentioned to you, I think, that one of the things that made life difficult for me was that I wanted to write before I had sufficient maturity to write as “high” as I wished and so I had a very arduous and painful apprenticeship and still am undergoing it. This journeyman idea has its drawbacks as well as its advantages. It makes me a craftsman – and few writers now are that – but it gives me a refuge from the peril of final accomplishment. “Lord, pardon me, I’m still preparing, not fully a man as yet.” I’m like the young man in the Gospels, or have been till lately. “Give all thou hast and follow me,” says Christ. The young man goes away to think it over and so is lost. There’s a limit to thinking it over…
—Saul Bellow, in a 1948 letter about one of his recent works.
For myself, I'd say that I'm less the young man in the Gospels than the servant who dug a hole in the ground and buried his master's talent. "Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground." It's more a posture of fear than one of considered unreadiness. Neither's a very good role model.
Even now, typing these words on a black, plastic keyboard whose spacebar is too loud, I wonder if this blog post is fit to be seen. Maybe I should assemble some more dynamite first.
Quote via Eva Holland.