Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch


Part of my reason for identifying so strongly with Proust, as some of you may have already concluded, is that the prospect of holing up in a cork-lined cell is looking pretty attractive of late. I keep telling folks that I'm all out of wit, that my words have become banal. But what I really mean is that I'm finding it hard to communicate with other living beings in the present. I'm not out of words. I'm out of words for others. Or at least out of words for others whose presence in my life exceeds the bounds of the category "reader." I'm happy to write for you. I love to hear back from you. I'm just not sure that I can communicate with you outside of this context. The humor-driven façade that I deploy to make casual interactions consistently "dealable" is under scaffolding and the contractors scheduled to do the renovations are too busy with commercial projects to begin work anytime soon.

Even domestic connections are taking place on noise-filled lines. Aside from a few friends who have recently ascended to the status of those whom I'm no longer too shy to call on the mobile phone, I'm increasingly speechless. The interesting thing is that this feeling is largely free of negative overtones. I'm not becoming a hater or anything. I merely prefer the past to the present. And that's what is making Swann's Way resonate so powerfully for me. Not to mention that, when I look at the book from a certain angle, I can see the oily residue of Walter Benjamin's fingertips all over the pages. While the image of his "historical angel" may have been inspired by Paul Klee's painting, the Haltung of that angel's body is straight out of Proust. Since my French will likely never be up to the task of reading the original -- or the "original," if you want to be post-structuralist about it -- I should probably track down Benjamin's German translation of Proust when the appropriate time comes.
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