I've been lucky enough to work with writing coach extraordinaire Bruce McAllister. But before he became the go-to guy for struggling writers, he was a precocious teen who thought he knew everything. Or at least, more than his English teacher, who kept force-feeding him exercises in finding symbolism in works of Lit-rah-toor. He decided to ask the Great Authors himself if they intended all that symbolic stuff or just what.
And they answered, by the score. John Updike, Jack Kerouac, Ray Bradbury and many others took the time to write back, believe it or not.
Behold, the long-forgotten results, newly rediscovered by the Paris Review, no less. His survey is starting to go viral and I'm late to the party (I've been sitting on this only a few days, but that's far too long in Internetland), but here's BoingBoing and The Guardian.