We're buying this, but why do you sing the same sad songs all women sing?
(Katharine S. White (1892-1977), U.S. editor and book reviewer. As quoted in Onward and Upward, Prologue, by Linda H. Davis (1986).
White, Fiction Editor of the New York Times, sent this note to Phyllis McGinley in the 1940s, along with a check, when buying a skillful, but conventional, story she had submitted. According to McGinley's daughter, she later said "repeatedly" that this had "changed the direction of her whole career.")
“And, of course, that is what all of this is - all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs - that song, endlesly reincarnated - born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket 88, that Buick 6 - same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness.”
This is a catastrophic universe, always; and subject to sudden reversals, upheavals, changes, cataclysms, with joy never anything but the song of substance under pressure forced into new forms and shapes.
(Doris Lessing (b. 1919), British novelist. Johor, in Shikasta, "Johor reports," p. 3, Knopf (1979).)