When a piece of sculpture or a musical composition produces an emotion that one feels to be higher, purer, truer than ordinary life, such a work must correspond to a certain spiritual reality.
There are mountainous, arduous days, up which one takes an infinite time to climb, and downward-sloping days which one can descend at full tilt, singing as one goes.
Marcel Proust. Today in the river.
People do not die for us immediately, but remain bathed in a sort of aura of life which bears no relation to true immortality but through which they continue to occupy our thoughts in the same way as when they were alive. It is as though they were traveling abroad.
And then a new light, less dazzling, no doubt, than the other illumination which had made me perceive that the work of art was the sole means of rediscovering Lost Time, shone suddenly within me. And I understood that all the materials for a work of literature were simply my past life; I understood that they had come to me, in frivolous pleasures, in indolence, in tenderness, in unhappiness, and that I had stored them up without divining the purpose for which they were destined or even their continued existence, any more than a seed does when it forms within itself a reserve of all the nutritious substances from which it will feed a plant.
Marcel Proust, “Remembrance of Things Past” Translated by Moncrieff & Kilmartin (from: Such Stuff)