New Yorker film editor/columnist Richard Brody, speaking in a video dated 2.1.14: “The act of writing, itself, is almost sexual. The act of writing, itself, is almost transcendent. Nobody should ever be proud of their writing. Because no one should ever take credit for writing. It happens to you.”

Correction: Good writing happens to you. You’re sniffing and digging and poking around, and then, if God or fate or luck wills it, you’ll strike oil in the same way that James Dean‘s Jett Rink noticed oil seeping through the mud. If you stay with it (and if you’ve any kind of knack or talent) you’re suddenly in the groove and maybe even riding a perfect wave.

The best way to find oil is to not care if what you’re tapping out is any good. If you’re reviewing yourself as you write, if you’re overly concerned with how people might react as you’re attempting to say or explain something, you’ll never take flight. Otherwise writing…typing, I should say, is drudgery. Typing without hope of oil is worse than digging ditches.

And being stuck on a dry, oil-less plateau with an IBM Selectric while sitting inside a West Fourth Street studio back in the early ’80s…it was so godawful I can’t revisit.