Speaking very slowly, “Did you ever feel," he asked, "as though you had something inside you that was only waiting for you to give it a chance to come out? Some sort of extra power that you aren’t using–you know, like all the water that goes down the falls instead of through the turbines?” He looked at Bernard questioningly.
“You mean all the emotions one might be feeling if things were different?”
Helmholtz shook his head. “Not quite. I’m thinking of a queer feeling I sometimes get, a feeling that I’ve got something important to say and the power to say it–only I don’t know what it is, and I can’t make any use of the power…I’m pretty good at inventing phrases–they seem so new and exciting even though they’re about something… obvious. But that doesn’t seem enough. It’s not enough for the phrases to be good; what you make with them ought to be good too.”
“But your things are good, Helmholtz.”
“Oh, as far as they go.” Helmholtz shrugged his shoulders. "But they go such a little way. They aren’t important enough, somehow. I feel I could do something much more important. Yes, and more intense, more violent. But what? What is there more important to say?…Can you say something about nothing? That’s what it finally boils down to. I try and I try…"