His love of the ocean had profound sources: the hard-worked artist’s longing for rest, his yearning to seek refuge from the thronging manifold shapes of his fancy in the bosom of the simple and vast; and another yearning, opposed to his art and perhaps for that very reason a lure, for the unorganized, the immeasurable, the eternal—in short, for nothingness. He whose preoccupation is with excellence longs fervently to find rest in perfection; and is not nothingness a form of perfection?
—Thomas Mann, “Death in Venice”
This quote as mantra for 8 years now. For whatever that’s worth.