I sometimes enjoy saying that anybody’s life can be encompassed in about 10 wonderful jokes. One of my favorites is about an American singer who makes his debut at La Scala. He sings his first aria to great applause. And the crowd calls ‘Ancora, vita, vita.’ He sings it a second time, and again they call for an encore. Then a third time and a fourth … Finally, panting and exhausted, he asks, ‘How many times must I sing this aria?’ Then someone tells him, ‘Until you get it right.’
That’s how it is with me – I always feel I haven’t gotten it quite right, and so I go on singing.”
Saul Bellow, in an interview with the NYT, 1981
Thanks to Gerard for the quote.