You cannot read the thing you wrote

Robert Louis Stevenson complains that he cannot read Treasure Island; a pity, he feels, because from what he is told, it would be just the sort of book he’d like:

I want to hear swords clash. I want a book to begin in a good way; a book, I guess, like Treasure Island, alas! which I have never read, and cannot though I live to ninety. I would God that some one else had written it! By all that I can learn, it is the very book for my complaint. I like the way I hear it opens; and they tell me John Silver is good fun. And to me it is, and must ever be, a dream unrealised, a book unwritten.

From The letters of Robert Louis Stevenson. (By way of the Distributed Proofreaders’ forums.)

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