I must have heard the last line somewhere else
He sighed and put down the newspaper.
“Fifteen years ago the reviewers would have been beating each other half to death trying to see who could lavish the most praise on me. But now that they’ve smelled blood they’re fighting to get a piece of me before there’s nothing left.”
“Inhale some inspiration,” his friend offered.
“It’s not that it’s not as good as my first book. I know it is. It’s better, even. In every way. I’m a better writer now.”
“And I’d like to call them idiots for not being able to see that, but maybe they’re right. Maybe I’m ‘boring’ and ‘shallow’ and ‘insipid’ now because I don’t have anything more to say. Maybe I’ve only got so much wisdom or such a narrow view of life I’ve already shared it all already.”
“Makes dying young not sound so bad.”
“What if Keats’ best work wasn’t only caused by the sickness, it was the best he ever would have done? What if he’d lived to 50 or longer like Wordsworth, gotten better at his form in every way imaginable and regularly put out new poems. Would they say he died as an artist at 25, still?”
“They’d say he wasn’t as inspired, probably. That Keats lost whatever it was that had made him great before.”
“That’s the problem. You don’t suddenly become a bad writer. But you do wake up one day and realize it’s left you. The spirit is gone.”
“My old English professor was a minor celebrity, in another life he called it. He said Christians got married to the Holy Spirit, but all writers could hope for was a tryst with a muse.”