A writer’s lament

I like this, from a letter by Herman Melville to Julian Hawthorne, as he was hurrying to finish his book, Moby Dick. Rings a little true.

“I am so pulled hither and thither by circumstances. The calm, the coolness, the silent grass-growing mood in which a man ought always to compose, that, I fear, can seldom be mine. Dollars damn me; and the malicious Devil is forever grinning in upon me, holding the door ajar. My dear Sir, a presentiment is on me, I shall at last be worn out and perish, like an old nutmeg-grater, grated to pieces by the constant attrition of the wood, that is, the nutmeg. What I feel most moved to write, that is banned, it will not pay. Yet, altogether, write the other way I cannot. So the product is a final hash, and all my books are botches.

http://www.melville.org/letter3.htm

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