From "Modern Man In Search Of A Soul" --
Every creative person is a duality or a synthesis of contradictory aptitudes. On the one side he is a human being with a personal life, while on the other side he is an impersonal, creative process. Since as a human being he may be sound or morbid, we must look at his psychic make-up to find the determinants of his personality. But we can only understand him in his capacity of artist by looking at his creative achievement. We should make a sad mistake if we tried to explain the mode of life of an English gentleman, a Prussian officer, or a cardinal in terms of personal factors. The gentleman, the officer and the cleric function as such in an impersonal role, and their psychic make-up is qualified by a peculiar objectivity. We must grant that the artist does not function in an official capacity -- the very opposite is nearer the truth. He nevertheless resembles the types I have named in one respect, for the specifically artistic disposition involves an overweight of collective psychic life as against the personal. Art is a kind of innate drive that seizes a human being and makes him its instrument. The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purposes through him.
Tynan gave a terrific talk for the Gotta Be Good Tour date in Austin about getting serious and doing great work.
Hanging out afterwards, he mentioned that he was learning language tapes and wasn't writing daily like his old habit was.
I was giving him a hard time about it. I said, what the heck is the use of learning basic Romanian? With all due respect to the Romani people of the world, I figure there's almost no chance that Tynan is ever going to translate or have really high level conversations in a language of a country he doesn't have an affinity to, he won't be a translator, and yet his best writing is incredibly meaningful and really makes a difference in people's lives.
There's a chance your best writing persists for a very long time; there's no chance that knowing a few more words and phrases in a country you're not strongly connected to is worth very much.
Well, turnabout being fair play and all, he gave me a hard time that I wasn't writing as much as I used to. And so on. And eventually -- I think it was his idea to start, because it sounds like something he'd come up with -- he asked how much I'd wager on writing every day.