Immersed in Proust’s Remembrance of Time Past (A la Recherche du Temps Perdu) for an online reading group. Each night I pick up a copy of the first volume (Swann’s Way) and settle myself back on pillows to read for an hour or two, notebook and pen within reach. The luxury of dropping into Proust as into a well or great dim cathedral, Proust the chronic asthmatic and closeted homosexual, the melancholy loving son, the Parisian writer emerging from candlelit rooms and gaslit streets into the glare and estrangement of the 20th century, probing and describing human consciousness with a scalpel or paintbrush. The key pleasure of joining book clubs or reading groups is the bliss of finding someone else or several others who love the same books, the same writers, and are willing to share the passion and insights. Books are my life, in so many ways.
“Every reader, as he reads, is actually the reader of himself. The writer’s work is only a kind of optical instrument he provides the reader so he can discern what he might never have seen in himself without this book. The reader’s recognition in himself of what the book says is the proof of the book’s truth.”
Peaceful morning here in the mountains, the forest fires have died down, the marches and protests have ceased for the time being. The Great Puppiness is chewing a corner of his beddy-byes blanket. The garden is watered, the sun is shining, it’s all good.
A slight understatement from actor Christian Slater on why being sober is sexier, not to mention less life-threatening — if you keep in mind his wilder-than-most past. In 1989 he was arrested for drunk driving, he was arrested in 1997 for trying to board a plane with a gun and also convicted of assaulting his girlfriend while under the influence, and in 2005 was charged with third-degree sexual assault, “grabbing a woman’s behind on the street”. Not a sweet drunk, then.
There are definitely challenges, particularly when you’re especially stubborn and you want to make something work when it doesn’t work for you. The illusion of alcohol is that you think you’re loose and comfortable when actually you’re falling on the floor and embarrassing yourself and your friends. But I feel like things work now. It is better just to show up. It makes me feel sexier. It’s sexier just to show up and be in the moment than to need liquid lubrication to feel like you fit in.
And a poem about love, or the memory of love, from A E Stallings who now lives in beleaguered Athens, Greece and studied the classics, translated Lucretius.