The figure in the icon is not meant to represent literally what Peter or John or any of the apostles looked like, or what Mary looked like, nor the child, Jesus. But, the orthodox painter feels, Jesus of Nazareth did not walk around Galilee faceless. The icon of Jesus may not look like the man Jesus two thousand years ago, but it represents some *quality* of Jesus, or his mother, or his followers, and so becomes an open window through which we can be given a new glimpse of the love of God.
We, and I think I'm speaking for many writers, don't know what it is that sometimes comes to make our books alive. All we can do is write dutifully and day after day, every day, giving our work the very best of what we are capable. I don't that we can consciously put the magic in; it doesn't work that way. When the magic comes, it's a gift.
[Growing up] is a process that never ends. It isn't a point you attain so you can say, Hooray, I'm grown up. Some people never grow up. And nobody ever finishes growing. Or shouldn't. If you stop you might as well quit. What I have to tell you is that it never gets any easier. It goes right on being rough forever. But nothing that's easy is worth anything. You ought to have learned that by now. What happens as you keep on growing is that all of a sudden you realize that it's more exciting and beautiful than scary and awful.
If we all knew each morning that there was going to be another morning, and on and on and on, we's tend not to notice the sunrise, or hear the birds, or the waves rolling into the shore. We'd tend not to treasure our time with the people we love. Simply the awareness that our mortal lives had a beginning and will have an end enhances the quality of our living. Perhaps it's even more intense when we know that the termination of the body is near, but it shouldn't be.