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I really like splendid_geryon's suggestion of a Tour de Proust, with stages. I've reached the end of the first big book, Swann's Way, which makes up half of Volume One of the Penguin/Terrence Kilmartin edition of the book. Reading this has been kind of an insane sensoria leavened with very subtle descriptions of French society of, I think, the period around the 1880s. I've occasionally got lost in the sentence structure, but mostly I've just been kind of caressed along in this rich overindulgence of flowers, smells, shadows, clouds, and the various ephemera that clog our neural passages, making Lagerfeld the scent of teenaged love, mown hay the smell of my grandmother's house in the summer, reading the comics over breakfast all of the mornings I've shared with shadowdaddy, years and years of memories connected by threads woven unknowingly by the happenstance of my body passing through time. I saw my hyacinth spoiling from the top today and it reminded me of Proust talking about the lilacs in Combray. Will I ever see the world the same again?

I've never liked posting song lyrics, but I do love good poems and literature, and in that vein, I give you this quote from Proust:

How paradoxical it is to seek in reality for the pictures that are stored in one's memory, which must inevitably lose the charm that comes to them from memory itself and from their not being apprehended by the senses. The reality that I had known no longer existed... The places we have known do not belong only to the world of space on which we map them for our own convenience. None of them was ever more than a thin slice, held between the contiguous impressions that composed our life at that time; the memory of a particular image is but regret for a particular moment; and houses, roads, avenues are as fugitive, alas, as the years.

PS: I realized this week that I've given up on Seattle, in a certain way - I'm so certain that people will patch over the tiny hole I've left that I'm making no effort to reach out to people in a rather self-protective way, so that I won't have to deal with being hurt by having other people be so much more important to me than I am to them. I can't tell how things will change in two years, but everyone will have moved forward and I'll be stuck remembering things like having lunch at Bakeman's with someone who's moved to New York, and getting loving hugs in a bar full of drag queens while I waited my turn at karaoke. I feel like I can't hold anyone tight so I've thrown them all in the air and am waiting to see how they will land when and if I return. Lots of time is left for people's opinion of me to change, vanish, or wither. I wonder which will stay and which will prove as transient as cherry blossoms?

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
wendolen
Jan. 15th, 2007 12:35 am (UTC)
What is the significance of two years?
webcowgirl
Jan. 15th, 2007 07:54 am (UTC)
Two years is how long my work permit is good for. It's also, I think, a fairly reasonable length of time to have stayed to be able to determine whether or not one wishes to return or not.
wendolen
Jan. 15th, 2007 08:35 am (UTC)
I see. :)

Will you qualify for naturalization at any point through work, or does that take marriage?
(Anonymous)
Jan. 15th, 2007 09:29 am (UTC)
After 5 years I qualify for permanent residency - I don't know how long I have to stay after that to be naturalized. I haven't been too worried about it. Sadly, it used to be only 4 years - five seems like such a long time!
webcowgirl
Jan. 15th, 2007 09:31 am (UTC)
Oopsie, that was me.
a_muse_d
Jan. 15th, 2007 01:56 am (UTC)
Will I ever see the world the same again?

i should hope not. how boring life would be then.. it sounds like what's occurred with your view is a positive thing. especially if you keep waxing poetic like this.. I wonder which will stay and which will prove as transient as cherry blossoms?
webcowgirl
Jan. 15th, 2007 09:31 am (UTC)
I'm not that much of a poet!
That's just me ripping off The Makioka Sisters - a very typically Japanese sentiment.
atokon
Jan. 15th, 2007 03:54 am (UTC)
proust
I picked up a copy of Remembrance of things past a couple years ago. Bare got thru 20 pages before I dropped it. It will have to wait till I get some long easy time.

ato
splendid_geryon
Jan. 15th, 2007 05:07 pm (UTC)
Congrats on the Swann's Way victory!

At my current reading rate, I think it would take me twenty years to finish the Tour de Proust... the last such readerly extravagance was when I read all of Doris Lessing's Canopus in Argos (space fiction) series in 2001. Which I highly recommend, by the way... when you've finished with Proust.
webcowgirl
Jan. 16th, 2007 10:33 am (UTC)
Ooh, what's that a picture of?

Will you ever make me a nautilus?

I really should try some Lessing.
sallysimpleton
Jan. 15th, 2007 10:38 pm (UTC)
This reminds me of when encmonkey took off for what was supposed to be a yearlong trip. I remember him saying he'd be back in a year and things in our social group would resume. But, I remember thinking that its part of human nature for people to change, find substitutes, or cope so things would definitely not be the same and I was very upset about it.

But, I also knew he was resolved already to travelling and he was looking forward to it, so I only made my opinion known lightly and hoped he would enjoy himself although I was really really really going to miss him (he was basically my big brother). When he came back only two months later after really missing vampgyrl, things had already changed enough that the previous life was already a distant memory. There were plenty of unhealthy things I was clinging to as it was, clinging to that old relationship would have been even more unhealthy so it was also necessary for me to move on from the former paradigm.

I think it's just the way it goes with life. There's a part of me that wants to tell you that you shouldn't give up on Seattle because I know that there are people that do care about you although you may not feel it. But, I think most people wouldn't tell you because they might be intimidated or because you sound pretty resolute on leaving Seattle behind. Which is understandable.
webcowgirl
Jan. 15th, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC)
grabbing the brass ring
Part of the reason I moved here is because I saw this thing happening with this group of tight friends that I could be a part of if I just made it before it all imploded. And I've made it here in time, and now I'm a part of it, and instead of going, "What if?" I've abandoned all my Prufrockian fears and am fully embracing the now. I don't know how long it will last, I don't know what the future will hold, but I do know that I made it here for this brief moment. Henry Miller got Paris, Hemingway got Cuba, and those damned Gen Xers got Prague. I get London, now, and the feeling that I could actually make something this out of the ordinary happen to my life.

sallysimpleton
Jan. 16th, 2007 12:48 am (UTC)
Re: grabbing the brass ring
Well, that's better then. It sounded more like you were lamenting that after 2 years time time passed, your presence in Seattle would have meant nothing to anyone here.
webcowgirl
Jan. 16th, 2007 10:29 am (UTC)
Re: grabbing the brass ring
It's kind of like when I left my life there was a coat and when I come back it will just be a pile of cloth again and I can already see it. I'm kind of lamenting the fact that I've already given up trying to do the stitching to hold it together because it's unravelling so fast. Other than LJ I've received private email from maybe 3 people and I've had no calls from anyone who's not family and if you ignore Christmas cards only one person has written me ... that's really fast. (I did get a nice care package with chocolate in it from vorona, so I'm not feeling totally unloved, but without being there to care for and water all of these people, the lawn is going brown.) I'm just surprised to see I'm really making no effort unless people are reaching out to me. Maybe it's a depression thing. But the funny thing is, I feel better than I did most of last year, at least the Seattle part - I had this long bit from Jan-April where I would sit in my office trying not to cry all of the time, and things are definitely better than they were then.
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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