Something wonderful for you: The Symbolism Survey.
In 1963, a sixteen-year-old San Diego high school student named Bruce McAllister sent a four-question mimeographed survey to 150 well-known authors of literary, commercial, and science fiction. Did they consciously plant symbols in their work? he asked. Who noticed symbols appearing from their subconscious, and who saw them arrive in their text, unbidden, created in the minds of their readers? When this happened, did the authors mind?
Yep, a smart aleck kid sent this survey to Saul Bellow, Jack Kerouac, Ralph Ellison, Norman Mailer, and Ayn Rand, among others. And many, many of them responded. And, if I ever needed reason to love Ray Bradbury more than I already do, this is it:
Do you feel you subconsciously place symbolism in your writing?
I trust my subconscious implicitly. It is my good pet. I try to keep it well fed with information through all my senses, but never look directly at it.
Read the rest — it’s well worth it.