From “Imagination and Community,” collected in When I Was a Child I Read Books.
That is to say, the unnamed is overwhelmingly present and real for me. And this is truer because the moment it stops being a standard for what I say is the moment my language goes slack and my imagination disengages itself. I would almost say it is the moment in which my language becomes false. The frontiers of the unsayable, and the avenues of approach to those frontiers, have been opened for me by every book I have ever read that was in any degree ambitious, earnest, or imaginative; by every good teacher I have had; by music and painting; by conversation that was in any way interesting, even conversation overheard as it passed between strangers.