Pearls from artists* # 276November 29, 2017
* an ongoing series of quotations – mostly from artists, to artists – that offers wisdom, inspiration, and advice for the sometimes lonely road we are on.
A long time later, after I became a novelist, I realized that the ambiguities of the human mind are what give fiction and perhaps all art its power. A good novel gets under our skin, provokes us and haunts us long after the first reading, because we never fully understand the characters. We sweep through the narrative over and over again, searching for meaning. Good characters must retain a certain mystery and unfathomable depth, even for the author. Once we see to the bottom of their hearts, the novel is dead for us.
Eventually, I learned to appreciate both certainty and uncertainty. Both are necessary in the world. Both are part of being human.
Alan Lightman in A Sense of the Mysterious: Science and the Human Spirit
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