Kublai asks Marco, "When you return to the West, will you repeat to your people the same tales you tell me?"
"I speak and speak," Marco says, "but the listener retains only the words he is expecting. The description of the world
to which you lend a benevolent ear is one thing; the description that will go the rounds of the groups of stevedores and
gondoliers on the street outside my house the day of my return is another; and yet another, that which I might dictate
late in life, if I were taken prisoner by Genoese pirates and put in irons in the same cell with a writer of adventure
stories. It is not the voice that commands the story: it is the ear."
Invisible Cities – Italo Calvino, 1972