Annie Dillard again, this time on reading and a good life:
There is no shortage of good days. It is good lives that are hard to come by. A life of good days lived in the senses is not enough. The life of sensation is the life of greed; it requires more and more. The life of the spirit requires less and less; time is ample and its passage sweet. Who would call a day spent reading a good day? But a life spent reading – that is a good life.
From The Writing Life
Some reflections on the arduous nature of the writing process:
On plenty of days the writer can write three or four pages, and on plenty of other days he concludes he must throw them away.
Even when passages seemed to come easily, as though I were copying from a folio held open by smiling angels, the manuscript revealed the usual signs of struggle – bloodstains, teethmarks, gashes, and burns.
(from Annie Dillard, The Writing Life)
In my experience, smiling angels are a rare occurrence; the bloodstains etc. I can relate to only too well.