Peter Taylor, The Art of Fiction No. 99 From Paris Review
Taylor- Yes. I feel justified in doing that because if you have any profound thoughts or views they will emerge from within the story inevitably. I still believe that. I tell young writers not to worry about writing a profound story because, as James said, a profound mind will produce a profound story and a superficial mind will produce a superficial story. Remember Tolstoy’s saying that Chekhov was so given to truth that he could not possibly have presented anything but the truth. And he said—Tolstoy said—that it’s very much the way it was when he was learning to ride a bicycle. He was learning in a huge gymnasium, and there was one lady, standing in the middle, walking around there, and he kept saying to himself, whatever I do I must not run into that woman. And he circled around her—he could hardly ride the bicycle—and ran her down. That’s the way Chekhov is with the truth, whatever he tries to do . . .