“One day when I was really pushing through, writing every last word, it occurred to me there is nothing more wholesome than having great knowledge in literature. You are pure, and insightful, and brave in ways you never imagined when you are intelligent in books; and look how much more beautiful you are when you can also be the one writing it all down . . .”
This came to me, in somewhat different form, in the middle of the night, apparently as a quote by Albert Einstein. When I woke, I relaxed, because I firmly believed in that moment that this quote already existed, out there in the world, and that it was generated by none other than a scientist—and how beautiful could it be that someone from a discipline other than English could fathom the beauty of such an involvement with words?
But then I really began to wake up, and the words were going away, and I knew they were mine. So I sat down and kept writing the same sentences over and over again, searching for the exactness of “Albert Einstein’s” observation; and while I’ll never have them back verbatim, these lines feel overwhelmingly true to the originals, and I am happy with them, at peace with them even, and more and more, I realize how beautiful they are.