Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

John Jay Chapman on speaking before you think

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Speak out your opinions before you think—and before the other fellow speaks. Thus you will give your mind some chance of forming them in a natural way—unconsciously. Accustom yourself to not knowing what your opinions are until you have blurted them out, and thus find what they are. That’s what talk is for—and it doesn’t prevent the careful summarizing of ideas upon occasion when this is in order. Your valued father went the limit in the expression of things in writing in this improvised way, for he never knew quite what was in his mind—as he told me himself—till he wrote; and it was by this course that he made his most telling cracks; for it is only in the poetic element that truth is told. For truth to be truth must be new.

John Jay Chapman, to Henry James

Written by nevalalee

July 30, 2011 at 7:57 am

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