'She said the story had to be real—whatever that meant for her. I think it meant not contrived, not incidental or gratuitous: it had to be deeply felt, emotionally important. She told a student of hers that the story he had written was too clever—don’t try to be clever, she said. She typeset one of her own stories in hot metal on a Linotype machine, and after three days of work threw all the slugs back into the melting pot, because, she said, the story was “false.”'
Lydia Davis, from the introduction to "A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories," by Lucia Berlin, my current read.
I like that, the idea of emotionally real and not contrived and not being too clever because then you end up looking false. And so not clever at all. Soul is the goal.