"The piano was always my earth instrument. The guitar was the space vehicle. When I was younger I was bored with the earth and wanted to travel as far out as I could. These days, the earth is more fascinating than ever."
Everything's for keeps, nothing's just for exercise
We move through a course on Dostoevsky or Poe as we move through a mildly good cocktail party, picking up the good bits of food or conversation, bearing with the rest, going home when it comes to seem the reasonable thing to do. Art, at those moments when it feels more like art—when we feel most alive, most alert, most triumphant—is less like a cocktail party thank a tank full of sharks. Everything’s for keeps, nothing’s just for exercise.
John Gardner, from The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers