The ceaseless labor is the freedom of play:

“I am 79. I’ve written many hundreds of essays, 10 times that number of misbegotten drafts both early and late, and I begin to understand that failure is its own reward. It is in the effort to close the distance between the work imagined and the work achieved wherein it is to be found that the ceaseless labor is the freedom of play, that what’s at stake isn’t a reflection in the mirror of fame but the escape from the prison of the self.” (New York Times: Old Masters at the Top of Their Game)

A world that shone so brightly: 

“Filling the double doors to bathe my eyes,

A final flood of colors will live on

As my mind dies,

Burned by my vision of a world that shone

So brightly at the last, and then was gone.” (New Yorker Poetry: Japanese Maple)

If you’re good at it, people only see the shiny outcome: 

“‘She made a solid point: If you’re good at it, people only see the shiny outcome. They see the trick that you have performed and they don’t see the hours and work that go into it, and that means you’ve done a good job.’ A journalist is rarely going to admit they got a great idea from a press release. Someone who downloads an app or attends an event usually won’t pause to think, ‘How did I hear about this?’ We only notice PR work when it goes horribly awry.” (New York Magazine: Why Do We Treat PR Like a Pink Ghetto?)

The perpetually flowing quest to the horizon…next: 

“The Fountain of Youth, whatever it is, would feel like justice. Time is a liquid — it flows, unfairly, through us and past us; we ingest it without effort, without chewing — so it only makes sense that we would look for a liquid to save us. A liquid cure to a liquid curse. Generation after generation, like the mythical Ponce, has chased eternity in liquid form: the patent formula, the fish oil, the coconut water, the juice fast, the wheatgrass, the lotions. Twenty-first-century science promises to chase this myth into the very liquids of our bodies: nanocures that will flow in our blood and restore the fluid inside our cells. Ponce’s quest rages on, and perhaps this is the fountain he was pointing to: the perpetually flowing quest to the horizon — the next, next, next, next. We turn to look where he was pointing, and then suddenly we are gone. Next.” (NYT Magazine: Searching for the Fountain of Youth)