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Verproustung - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
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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siyeh From: siyeh Date: August 10th, 2005 05:55 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Sometimes "real" space is so much more disappointing than head space. I know it is for me.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 10th, 2005 06:08 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
On the other hand, I love reading good journals. Your entry today really hit home for me.
siyeh From: siyeh Date: August 10th, 2005 06:13 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
The long one, I presume? As nothing else I wrote meant anything, really....

Yeah, you know, there's this complicated tension between being introverted and extroverted for me, between holing up and socializing. Today I said I was going to hibernate, and then I went to a coffee shop, and then I wandered down to Che's just to see who was there. I think those are the moments I like most about my very independent life. I like seeing where the day takes me.

But I certainly know what you mean about feeling like it's easier to interact through this strange medium than in the so-called real world.
From: e4q Date: August 10th, 2005 07:53 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
and for me. any expectation of being understood is routinely rudely dashed in 'the real world' and has been for some time. thank god for the penpal machine, is all. since i got broadband my loneliness has subsided somewhat, and the serendipity of finding citynoise was fantastic as it acutally gave me an audience which i kind of need for my creativitiy to feel motivated. my online life is a lot more real to me than the offline at the moment, it is where i find some kind of sense of community - which is an important need according to maslows heirarchy, which i get so little in realtime
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 18th, 2005 09:02 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Very nicely put. I feel the same way, so much so that I'm returning to comments left a week ago, when I got swamped with other stuff, so that I can make it clear how happy I was to get them!
From: e4q Date: August 18th, 2005 09:30 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
weird re-reading this a little later, i still feel the same, unsurprisingly, as this is a long term trend in my headspace, but recently i met a whole lot of people 'live' through someone i met online, and they are all people he met online, and i had just this conversation with one of them. as well as finding online easier than offline, i find new people easier than old, and men easier than women (in general, but this also goes with the new/old thing - female friends are largely longterm, female, and nosey and not accepting of me as i am now) but this new hybrid is also interesting - people who are 'live' but who get the online thing. my general conclusion is i am not gonna bust my ass trying to get back in the good books of my older friends and just accept the company of people who accept me as i currently am
frostedfuckhead From: frostedfuckhead Date: August 10th, 2005 05:34 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
There are only a handful of people with whom I feel comfortable talking about what matters most to me -- and these people are from my past, living in Tucson. Actually it isn't even a comfort issue: I'd flat out be labeled insane by most folks given a peek inside my brain. For some reason, I just don't see Jung's theory of synchronicity or the struggle to integrate shadowy unconscious material into my whole person as worthy bar conversation. As these are the sorts of things currently preoccupying my brain, I, too, feel like I am 'out of words" for most people these days.

Couple this with the fact I'm moving to China in 10 days and the whole stew of horrible things happening to close friends and family and you got a man who's life has been temporarily taken hostage. But this is okay.

In 10 days everything changes again, and the past truly becomes the past.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 10th, 2005 06:25 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Good luck, man. I've been picking up on some strangeness. . .
From: thewhitaker Date: August 10th, 2005 07:54 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I can relate to your Proust isolation fantasy, although I guess I'm kind of living out a summer that is more Julian of Norwich than Marcel Proust. In any event, I hope you find the "cork-lined cell" your looking for--be it tangible or not.
I can tell you that you draw a damn fine representation of the Angel on a dry erase board, if that is any consolation!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: August 18th, 2005 09:03 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Thanks for the praise of what was actually a rather lackluster illustration. And nice reference too!
From: (Anonymous) Date: August 11th, 2005 03:26 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)

Proust in China

Driven by my Columbian genes (remember? I went to high school there) I have decided to be the first commenter on your LJ to write from China (just getting in ahead of the person above who's headed here in 10 days).

But really just writing to tell you that your post brought back fond memories of our simultaneous reading of the translations, and also to say that I too am reading Proust, but in French this time... the first 80 pages (part 1 and 1/2 of part 2) had left me feeling pretty low about my language skills, but then I went and read the preface/introduction and found that completely easy... Proust's vocab and sentence structure are even more striking (at least for me) in a "second" language that was originally my first; if I were you I think I might wonder about the ways in which the Verfremdung of the grammar reflects the distance I take from my former selves and their histories. But now we're back to the ghost of Woofy: it's only through you that he haunts me. =)
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