You’ve got a place in my heart no one else could ever have, but tied down here I’d get restless. I’d feel I was–wastin’ myself. There’s two sides of me you see. There’s the sleepy old side you love; an’ there’s a sort of energy–the feelin’ that makes me do wild things. That’s the part of me that may be useful somewhere, that’ll last when I’m not beautiful anymore.
The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.
One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise.
Upon mature consideration I advise you to go no farther with your vocabulary. If you have a lot of words they will become like some muscle you have developed that you are compelled to use, and you must use this one in expressing yourself or in criticizing others. It is hard to say who will punish you the most for this, the dumb people who don’t know what you are talking about or the learned ones who do. But wallop you they will and you will be forced to confine yourself to pen and paper.
Then you will be a writer and may God have mercy on your soul.
No! A thousand times no! Far, far better confine yourself to a few simple expressions in life, the ones that served billions upon countless billions of our forefathers and still serve admirably all but a tiny handful of those at present clinging to the earth’s crust….
So forget all that has hitherto attracted you in our complicated system of grunts and go back to those fundamental ones that have stood the test of time.
– F. SCOTT FITZGERALD, in a letter to Andrew Turnbull