[An old post from Multiply. This passage is from his Lyrical and critical essays. Edited by Philip Thody. Translated by Ellen Conroy Kennedy.]
Poverty, first of all, was never a misfortune for me: it was radiant with light. Even my revolts were brilliant with sunshine. They were almost always, I think I can say this without hypocrisy, revolts for everyone, so that every life might be lifted into that light. There is no certainty that my heart was naturally disposed to this kind of love. But circumstances helped me. To correct a natural indifference I was placed halfway between poverty and the sun. Poverty kept me from thinking all was well under the sun and in history; the sun taught me that history was not everything. I wanted to change lives, yes, but not the world which I worshiped as divine. I suppose this is how I got started in on my present difficult career, innocently stepping into the tightrope upon which I move painfully forward, unsure of reaching the end. In other words, I became an artist, if it is true that there is no art without refusal or consent.
[Image culled from: http://www.amazon.com/Lyrical-Critical-Essays-Albert-Camus/dp/0394708520]