“The quality that above all deserves the greatest glory in art -and by that word we must include all creations of the mind – is courage;…To plan, dream, and imagine fine works is a pleasant occupation to be sure . . .But to produce, to bring to birth, to bring up the infant work with labor, to put it to bed full-fed with milk, to take it up again every morning with inexhaustible maternal love, to lick it clean, to dress it a hundred times in lovely garments that it tears up again and again; never to be discouraged by the convulsions of this mad life, and to make of it a living masterpiece that speaks to all eyes in sculpture, or to all minds in literature, to all memories in painting, to all hearts in music, – that is the task of execution. The hand must be ready at every moment to obey the mind. And the creative moments of the mind do not come to order…And work is a weary struggle at once dreaded an loved by those fine and powerful natures who are often broken under the strain of it…If the artist does not throw himself into his work like a soldier into the breach, unreflectingly; and if, in that crater, he does not dig like a miner buried under a fall of rock . . the work will never be completed; it will perish in the studio, where production becomes impossible, and the artist looks on at the suicide of his own talent…And it is for that reason that the same reward, the same triumph, the same laurels, are accorded to great poets as to great generals.”

*Honore de Balzac, Cousin Bette. New York, Panttheon Books, pp236-8