I turned the pages so fast. And I suppose I was, in my mindless way, looking for a something, version of myself, a heroine I could slip inside as one might a pair of favourite shoes.
Like so many other nerdy, disaffected young people of that time, I dreamed of becoming an ‘artist’, i.e., somebody whose adult job was original and creative instead of tedious and dronelike.
That sometime human beings have to just sit in once place and, like, hurt. That you will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do. That there is a such a thing as raw, unalloyed, agendaless kindness … That there might not be angels, but there are people who might as well be. That God - unless you’re Charlton Heston, or unhinged, or both - speaks and acts entirely through the vehicle of human beings, if there is a God. That God might regard the issue of whether you believe there’s a God or not as fairly low on his/her/its list of things s/he/it’s interested in re you.
What a sublime art painting is!” my soul was thinking. “Happy is the man moved by the spectacle of nature who is not obliged to make paintings for a living; who does not paint solely as a pastime, but rather, when struck by the majesty of a beautiful countenance or the wonderful play of the light as it blends into a thousand shades on the human face, strives in his works to approximate nature’s sublime effects! And happier still the painter who, summoned to his solitary promenades by his love for the landscape, can express on canvas the sadness inspired in him by a shaded thicket or an empty plain. His creations imitate and reproduce nature; he invents new seas and dark caverns the sun has never known: at his command, shady groves, always green, arise from nothing; heaven’s blue is mirrored in his paintings. With his art he can roil the winds and make the tempests roar. At other times he presents to the spectator’s astonished eye the splendid landscapes of ancient Sicily: one sees frightened nymphs fleeing through the reeds, pursued by a satyr; temples of majestic architecture rise proudly above the sacred forest surrounding them: the imagination loses its way along the silent paths of this ideal land; the bluish distance blends into the sky, and the whole landscape, mirrored in the waters of a tranquil river, creates a spectacle that no language can describe.
I think somehow the culture has taught us or we’ve allowed the culture to teach us that the point of living is to get as much as you can and experience as much pleasure as you can, and that the implicit promise is that will make you happy. I know that’s almost offensively simplistic, but the effects of it aren’t simplistic at all.