If you look at history, even recent history, you see that there is indeed progress. … Over time, the cycle is clearly, generally upwards. And it doesn't happen by laws of nature. And it doesn't happen by social laws. … It happens as a result of hard work by dedicated people who are willing to look at problems honestly, to look at them without illusions, and to go to work chipping away at them, with no guarantee of success — in fact, with a need for a rather high tolerance for failure along the way, and plenty of disappointments.
The author of genius does keep till his last breath the spontaneity, the ready sensitiveness, of a child, the “innocence of eye” that means so much to the painter, the ability to respond freshly and quickly to new scenes, and to old scenes as though they were new… This freshness of response is vital to the author’s talent… But there is another element to his character, fully as important to his success. It is adult, discriminating, temperate, and just. It is the side of the artisan, the workman, and the critic rather than the artist. It must work continually with and through the emotional and childlike side, or we have no work of art. If either element of the artist’s character gets too far out of hand the result will be bad work, or no work at all. The writer’s first task is to get these two elements of his nature into balance, to combine their aspects into one integrated character.