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I hope you’ll never become grossly sensual; but I’m not afraid of that. The peril if you is that you live too much in the world of your own dreams.

Portrait of a Lady - Henry James

By then I knew that everything good and bad left an emptiness when it stopped. But if it was bad, the emptiness filled up by itself. If it was good you could only fill it by finding something better.

Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

I ask Allen if he agrees with the lines he wrote for Gertrude Stein in the film, in which she states that the job of the artist is not to succumb to despair but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence. “I don’t know if I believe that myself,” he replies. “That’s all easy enough to attribute to a character in a movie, and one could make a case for that — that the job of the artist is to show why life, despite all its horror and brutality, is worth living and is a valuable thing. But one could also take the position that it’s not the job of the artist to do anything at all — just to make the best art that he can, because art gives pleasure and pleasure gives distraction, and distraction is the only thing that gets us by, really.”

Woody Allen Interview - LA Weekly