Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Monsieur Proust, You've Got My Number



Right about now I'm halfway through In Search of Lost Time which I embarked upon for a variety of reasons. I kept reading other books that referenced it then I read the quote somewhere which goes something like "You know you've reached middle age when you realize you will never finish In Search of Lost Time." Well, since I am on an eternal quest to deny that I will ever become middle-aged, that last one really sealed the deal.

Anywho, it's been an awfully rewarding journey so far following M. Proust with his musings and ramblings and today it really paid off. As a struggling, young, unpublished writer I sometimes think that Proust really gets me... and then I realized he's tewtally got. my. number:

"If only I had been able to start writing! But whatever the conditions in which I approached the task (as, too, alas, the undertakings not to touch alcohol, to go to bed early, to sleep, to keep fit), whether it were with enthusiasm, with method, with pleasure, in depriving myself of a walk, or postponing my walk and keeping it in reserve as a reward of industry, taking advantage of an hour of good health, utilising the inactivity forced on me by a day of illness, what always emerged in the end from all my effort was a virgin page, undefiled by any writing, ineluctable as that forced card which in certain tricks one invariably is made to draw, however carefully one may first have shuffled the pack. I was merely the instrument of habits of not working, of not going to bed, of not sleeping, which must find expression somehow, cost what it might; if I offered them no resistance, if I contented myself with the pretext they seized from the first opportunity that the day afforded them of acting as they chose, I escaped without serious injury, I slept for a few hours after all, towards morning, I read a little, I did not over-exert myself; but if I attempted to thwart them, if I pretended to go to bed early, to drink only water, to work, they grew restive, they adopted strong measures, they made me really ill, I was obliged to double my dose of alcohol, did not lie down in bed for two days and nights on end, could not even read, and I vowed that another time I would be more reasonable, that is to say less wise, like the victim of an assault who allows himself to be robbed for fear, should he offer resistance, of being murdered."

- Marcel Proust, The Guermantes Way