But in writing (as in all forms of creative art) one derives one’s unity of being and one’s freedom to be one’s self, from one’s relationship to those particular externals (language, clay, paints, et cetera) over which one has complete control and the shaping of which lies entirely in one’s own power; whereas in living, one’s shaping of the externals involved there (of one’s friendships, the structure of society, et cetera) is no longer entirely within one’s own power but requires the cooperation and the understanding and the humanity of others in order to bring out what is best and most real in one’s self.

-William Carlos Williams, Paterson (New Directions 1946) p. 87

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