" 'The most demanding part of living a lifetime as an artist,' writes the sculptor Anne Truitt, 'is the strict discipline of forcing oneself to work steadfastly along the nerve of one's own most intimate sensitivity.'

"Solitude is likely necessary to be in touch with the things deep inside you. Silence may be required for you to hear what those things are saying to you.

"Do not be afraid to be quiet. Never be afraid to be alone.

"Wandering around in wide-open spaces, especially spaces offered by a blank page, may be the key to making some art of those things found in the silence and the solitude.

"It may well be that such places are where the Muse chooses to drop by for a visit."