Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Archive for January 21st, 2017

A sufficient touch of genius

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Robert A. Heinlein

I don’t think much of myself as a synthesist…I would like to have been a synthesist, but I am acutely aware that many of my characteristics are second-rate. I haven’t quite got the memory, nor the integrating ability, nor the physical strength, nor the strength of character to do the job. I am not depressed about it, but I know my own shortcomings. I am sufficiently brilliant and sufficiently imaginative to realize acutely just how superficial my acquaintance with the world is and to know that I have not the health, ambition, or years remaining to me to accomplish what I would like to accomplish…I have just sufficient touch of genius to know that I am not a proper genius—and I am not much interested in second prize. In the meantime I expect to have quite a lot of fun and do somewhat less constructive work than I might, if I tried as hard as I could. That last is not quite correct. I simply don’t have the ambition to try as hard as I might, nor quite the health. But I do have fun!

Robert A. Heinlein, in a letter to John W. Campbell

Written by nevalalee

January 21, 2017 at 7:30 am

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