In search of lost time

File:Jean Béraud La Rue de la Paix.jpgI had been aware of Proust’s work as a Great European Classic, and thought I might start reading it some time (in English, I have forgotten my O grade French).
Let me tell you how it starts. Young Marcel wants his mother to come to his room to kiss him goodnight, after he is in bed. This kiss is like combined Eucharist and absolution for him, it calms his fears and gives him the peace he needs in order to go to sleep. Sometimes, when there are visitors, he has to kiss his mother downstairs, and then get ready for bed, holding the memory of that experience until he is in bed: it is rarely enough for him. So he plans how, when the adults are at the dinner table, he will study his mother’s cheek for the precise location which he will kiss, so that when the moment for it comes, he may be entirely in that moment, and savour the experience to the full, then carry and treasure the memory upstairs.
I told my rationalist friend Terry about this, and he could not bear the heightened sensibility; but he saw clearly that I had got high on it, hearing and sight heightened, noticing things, enraptured with the grain on a segment of the wooden bench in front of me. I am aware that such states may be overwhelming, but I am exploring how I might bring such a state into normal life, heightening my empathy, sidelining the inner critic, being more creative, accepting my safety and guarding it only as much as is necessary. Operating out of Love rather than fear.
The novel moves on, into a salon in Paris in the 1870s. This salon has intellectual and artistic pretensions, and the hosts are fair pleased to have a thick Comte, a “de”, turn up. How does each person feel? What do they say, and why do they say that? How do they wish to appear, why, what success do they have? What is it like to be in Love? I do not recommend it, I do not know your taste or what you need at the moment, but I find it wonderful.

4 thoughts on “In search of lost time

  1. I just wanted to say hi, Clare, and thanks for your comment on my latest post about my FFS. You sound like a really interesting person, and I am going to read your previous posts. I would like to get in touch with you – are you on Facebook? My FB account is – please message me so I can give you my email address.


  2. “Operating out of Love rather than fear,” what a beautiful challenge – I do hope you’ll take it on! And I love the way the Universe works. Just last night we watched “Midnight in Paris.” Have you seen it? I’m still running it around in my mind thinking about our search for “lost time.” Off for communion. Peace be with you!


    • And also with you.

      well, actually-

      I am going to write more about Recherche, so I started with this post, which originally I wrote as a group email six months ago. How am I doing? I have vast amounts of fear, which I need to feel and let go. I am at times succeeding, I think, particularly this morning at the Quaker meeting, but the Love increases.

      I did not see Midnight in Paris, it was released in October so I have missed it. I rather fancy The Artist, but it is not on at my local (within ten miles) cinema so I would have to travel for it.


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