There is no such thing as conversation. It is an illusion. There are intersecting monologues, that is all. We speak; we spread round us with sounds, with words, an emanation from ourselves. Sometimes they overlap the circles that others are spreading round themselves. Then they are affected by these other circles, to be sure, but not because of any real communication that has taken place, merely as a scarf of blue chiffon lying on a woman's dressing-table will change colour if she casts down on it a scarf of red chiffon. I am talking now of times when life is being lived, not when it is being talked about, not when the intellect is holding the field. Then, of course, ideas can be formulated, can be passed from one mind to another. It is not easy, but it can be done with care, like handing round a pearl of which you wish an opinion to a circle of experts. You cup the palm to hold it, you keep the hand very steady. No such caution is possible when one is really living. Then there is no conversation.
--Rebecca West, The Harsh Voice