I have found that some of the simplest things have given me the most pleasure. They didn’t cost me a lot of money either. They just worked on my senses. Did you ever pick very large blueberries after a summer rain? Walk through a grove of cottonwoods, open like a park, and see the blue sky beyond the shimmering gold of the leaves? Pull on dry woolen socks after you’ve peeled off the wet ones? Come in out of the subzero and shiver yourself warm in front of a wood fire? The world is full of such things.
Changing ourselves. Surely that must be what we’re after when we look at pictures and watch movies and listen to music. It sounds more Californian than it really is. Changing ourselves includes switching on the radio when we’re bored — to change from being someone who’s bored to someone who’s being less bored, or bored in a different way. But of course we would prefer to think that the art we venerate does more than feed us sensations to keep us from the gloom of everyday existence. (Why would I prefer that? What’s wrong with the opposite? I remember someone saying that all human creativity is a desperate attempt to occupy the brief space or endless gap between birth and death.) We would like to think that art remakes us in some way, deepens us, makes us ‘better’ people.