I’m going to add this to each post/comment, and I encourage you to do so too:
Today I’ve listened to: Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5, the “Emperor”
Today I’ve read: Many Dimensions by Charles Williams
Yesterday was a fantastically beautiful Spring day. 80º, sunny, perfect. I sat outside listening to the myriads of birds, thinking, “Who needs music when we have the melodious and harmonious calls of birds? Who needs poetry describing nature when the real thing is so much more real and so much more satisfying? Who needs novels when the world and people and even trees have more depth and colour and meaning? Why do we bother with art, anyway?”
Then I picked up Many Dimensions. And I knew the answer. Whether or not I can articulate it, I knew and felt it. Nature is what it is and does what it does, but there was that book. It was alive. No, the characters were alive. No, they are something different and better than living. They are permanent, though they pass through my mind only while I read and when I think on it, or dream the story into my life as I did last night. The crisp psychological detail, the spiritual enormity, the trueness of it is unparalleled and indispensable. I almost venerate those characters. Yes, I want to emulate them. The stillness of Chloe, the silent acquiescence of her will to God’s, makes me want to change my name to Serena and live in tranquility. I ate that book up as a goat grazes away all things green, as a man in the desert consumes water. I wanted to read it as fast as I could, yet I grieve now that it is finished.
That is one reason to do art: to keep us starving and fed, to take us away from family and duty but give us back to spirit, to submerge us and lift us below and above all this beautiful material existence.