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.
— Xavier de Maistre, from Voyage Around My Room (1794) translated by Stephen Sartarelli (via 1910-again)
There’s so much more to life than finding someone who will want you, or being sad over someone who doesn’t. There’s a lot of wonderful time to be spent discovering yourself without hoping someone will fall in love with you along the way, and it doesn’t need to be painful or empty. You need to fill yourself up with love. Not anyone else. Become a whole being on your own. Go on adventures, fall asleep in the woods with friends, wander around the city at night, sit in a coffee shop on your own, write on bathroom stalls, leave notes in library books, dress up for yourself, give to others, smile a lot. Do all things with love, but don’t romanticize life like you can’t survive without it. Live for yourself and be happy on your own. It isn’t any less beautiful, I promise.
Cakes have gotten a bad rap. People equate virtue with turning down dessert. There is always one person at the table who holds up her hand when I serve the cake. No, really, I couldn’t she says, and then gives her flat stomach a conspiratorial little pat. Everyone who is pressing a fork into that first tender layer looks at the person who declined the plate, and they all think, That person is better than I am. That person has discipline. But that isn’t a person with discipline; that is a person who has completely lost touch with joy. A slice of cake never made anybody fat. You don’t eat the whole cake. You don’t eat a cake every day of your life. You take the cake when it is offered because the cake is delicious. You have a slice of cake and what it reminds you of is someplace that’s safe, uncomplicated, without stress. A cake is a party, a birthday, a wedding. A cake is what’s served on the happiest days of your life. This is a story of how my life was saved by cake, so, of course, if sides are to be taken, I will always take the side of cake.