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sharp, staccato ideas; by action at last

      So you see the imagination needs moodling,— long, inefficient, happy idling, dawdling and puttering. These people who are always briskly doing something and as busy as waltzing mice, they have little, sharp, staccato ideas, such as: “I see where I can make an annual cut of $3.47 in my meat budget.” But they have no slow, big ideas. And the fewer consoling, noble, shining, free, jovial, magnanimous ideas that come, the more nervously and desperately they rush and run from office to office and up and downstairs, thinking by action at last to make life have some warmth and meaning.
      The great mystic philosopher Plotinus said about this:
      “So there are men too feeble for contemplation.” (This is his word for what I call the imagination.) “Being unable to raise themselves to contemplation from the weakness of their Soul, unable to behold spiritual reality and fill themselves with it, but desiring to see it, they are driven to action that they may see that which they could not see with the spiritual eye.”
      But I must go back to my subject,—writing.

Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write : A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit (1938; second edition 1983) : 32
borrowable at archive.org : link
(with very good introduction by Patricia Hampl)

Brenda Ueland (1891-1985)
wikipedia : link

see also
Brenda Ueland, Strength to your sword arm : selected writings (Holy Cow! Press, Duluth, Minn, 1993)
borrowable at archive.org : link

23 January 2023