My working method has more often than not involved the subtraction of weight. I have tried to remove weight, sometimes from people, sometimes from heavenly bodies, sometimes from cities; above all I have tried to remove weight from the structure of stories and from language. . . . Maybe I was only then becoming aware of the weight, the inertia, the opacity of the world -- qualities that stick to the writing from the start, unless one finds some way of evading them.
-- Italo Calvino, Six Memos for the Next Millenium (Cambridge, 1988), p. 3-4
A vessel is useful only through its emptiness. It is the space opened in a wall that serves as a window. Thus it is the nonexistent in things which makes them serviceable.
-- Lao Tse, Seen in Tufte, Envisioning Information p 65.
I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.