The Flowering Dream
A writer’s main asset is intuition; too many facts impede intuition. A writer needs to know so many things, but there are so many things he doesn’t need to know — he needs to know human things even if they aren’t “wholesome,” as they call it. Every day, I read the New York Daily News, and very soberly. It is interesting to know the name of the lover’s lane where the stabbing took place, and the circumstances which the New York Times never reports. In that unsolved murder in Staten Island, it is interesting to know that the doctor and his wife, when they were stabbed, were wearing Mormon nightgowns, three-quarter length. Lizzie Borden’s breakfast, on the sweltering summer day she killed her father, was mutton soup. Always details provoke more ideas than any generality could furnish. When Christ was pierced in His left side, it is more moving and evocative than if He were just pierced.
From: The Flowering Dream: Notes on Writing by Carson McCullers, published in Esquire, December 1959