"... that the painstakingly detailed analysis of relationships required to understand or even to produce top notch novels can't be turned off when applied to one's spouse, or one's children. Even though you have to tell yourself they are not the same thing. One is an abstract, parallel world, where the rules are similar, but not the same. If a human being has a port wine stain on his forehead, it is a random accident of birth, but if you put one on a character in a novel, either you are a rank amateur, or the stain means something like 'mark of Cain,' etc. Or, to use Chekov's example, if you walk into somebody's house in real life, and they have a gun displayed on the wall, there is no guarantee that it is going to go off an kill somebody you know in the course of your relationship with the person, but in a novel, if there is a gun on the wall, it is going to go off and is going to affect somebody somehow."
Said Barlycorn, John, commenting on a post written by my son John and hitting me — the ex-wife of a novelist — way too close to home.
Scroll up to the post for a great Bertrand Russell quote about the happiness of the man of science.