Often these young inquirers read a book of mine - read it once, in the desperate rush which is apparently inseparable from modern education - and then they tell me what it means. Or rather they inquire about what it means indirectly, by a form of words that fills me with the desire to kill them. They look me in the eye and declare, “What you’re trying to say is …” and that is where I choke them off, roaring, “I’m not trying to say anything; I am saying it with all the art and skill that I have acquired in a lifetime of hard work.” But what I really ought to say is, “The book does not call for your reductive, half-baked explanation; it exists, and to you it may be a tale or a parable, or a direct revelation of reality; you will gain nothing by pulling it to pieces. It is like a clock, and if you observe it understandingly it will tell you what time it is in my life and yours, but if you pull it apart you will have nothing but a handful of junk.
—Robertson Davies, “Writing” (in The Merry Heart)