Page:The Craftsmanship of Writing.djvu/38

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THE INBORN TALENT

his instinct to tell him whether they are good or bad—and every now and then someone having authority comes along and blots them out with turpentine or a palette knife, and with no word of explanation. The young artist tries again, and still again—and if he has the Inborn Talent, it is conceivable that he may grow slowly through his own efforts, helped only by this purely destructive criticism, until he achieves real greatness. As a matter of fact, this is not the road over which the great painters have travelled, but it is the road by which the masters of literature have attained their goal.

Now let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that a young writer is in no haste to see himself in print, that he would be glad to have some sort of systematic instruction through a period of years, analogous to that of the other arts and crafts: what possible avenues are open to him?

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