Quote from Paul Auster’s Moon Palace

Here’s another quote about writing that seems to be about something else, from Paul Auster’s novel, Moon PalaceThe main character is talking about the difficulty of describing what he sees to his employer, Thomas Effing, who is in a wheelchair, as they take their daily walks through New York:

“The important thing to remember was that Effing was blind. My job was not to exhaust him with lengthy catalogues, but to help him see things for himself. In the end, the words didn’t matter. Their task was to enable him to apprehend the objects as quickly as possible, and in order to do that, I had to make them disappear the moment they were pronounced. . . .I discovered that the more air I left around a thing, the happier the results, for that allowed Effing to do the crucial work on his own: to construct an image on the basis of a few hints, to feel his own mind traveling toward the thing I was describing for him.”