On the reading front, I've been luxuriating in Joyce Carol Oates' journal. Here's an excerpt written in March 1975:
"The novelist is an empiricist, an observer of facts . . . objective and subjective 'reality' . . . he must guard against the demonic idea of imagining that he possesses or even can possess ultimate truth. . . . The person who completes a novel is not the person who began it. Hence the joy of creation, the unpredictable changes, transformations, some minute and some major. As soon as the novelist stops observing, however, he becomes something else--an evangelist, a politician. . . . When one believes he has the Truth, he is no longer an artist."She often mentions in the journal her husband, Raymond Smith, founder of the Ontario Review. I just googled him and was stunned to find out he died two weeks ago. They had been married more than 45 years.