My vocation [as a writer] changed everything: the sword-strokes fly off, the writing remains; I discovered in belles-lettres that the Giver can be transformed into his own Gift, that is, into a pure object. Chance has made me a man, generosity would make me a book.
– Jean Paul Sartre
A gift that has the power to change us awakens a part of the soul. But we cannot receive the gift until we can meet it as an equal. We therefore must submit ourselves to the labor of becoming like the gift.
For the slow labor of realizing a potential gift the artist must retreat to those Bohemias, halfway between the slums and the library, where life is not counted by the clock and where the talented may be sure they will be ignored until that time, if it ever comes, when their gifts are viable enough to be set free and survive in the world.
– Lewis Hyde, The Gift