My work continued to go badly. I wrote more slowly than I ever had before, and continued to second-guess what I’d written, unable to escape the feeling that all I’d written in the past had been wrong, misguided, a kind of enormous mistake. I began to suspect that instead of exposing the hidden depths of things, as all along I’d supposed I was doing, perhaps the opposite was true, that I’d been hiding behind the things I wrote, using them to obscure a secret lack, a deficiency I’d hidden from others all my life, by writing, had kept, even, from myself. A deficiency that became larger as the years passed, and harder to conceal, making my work more and more difficult. What sort of deficiency? I guess you could call it a deficiency of spirit. Of strength, of vitality, of compassion, and because of this, welded to it, a deficiency of effect. So long as I wrote, there was the illusion of these things. The fact that I didn’t witness the effect didn’t mean it didn’t exist.

Nicole Krauss, Great House, p. 36.

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