If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller quotes
At times I think of the subject matter of the book to be written as of something that already exists: thoughts already thought, dialogue already spoken, stories already happened, places and settings seen; the book should be simply the equivalent of the unwritten world translated into writing. At other times, on the contrary, I seem to understand that between the book to be written and things that already exist there can only be a kind of complementary relationship; the book should be the written counterpart of the unwritten world; its subject should be what does not exist and cannot exist except when written; but whose absence is obscurely felt by that which exists, in its own incompleteness.
But if the individual truth is the only one that a book can contain, I might as well accept it and write my truth. The book of my memory? No, memory is true as long as you do not set it, as long as it is not enclosed in a form. The book of my desires? Those also are true only when their impulse acts independently of my conscious will. The only truth I can write is that of the instant I am living.
… the truth of literature consists only in the physicality of the act of writing.
—- Italo Calvino, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller