À la recherche du temps perdu

news from nowhere

Month: November, 2009

Perchance someone is reading this

The truth is, the one you meet is never the one you wanted to meet in the first place.

This thought keeps recurring within me. These days, no less because of the approach of my birthday, I begin to wonder what fate has in store for me, or whether there is anything for me at all. But instead of falling into that melancholic fit again, I start to think that perhaps it is because I am not desparate now. In fact I am feeling quite content and happy. I even feel fortunate not to have chosen otherwise. It is now inconceivable for me to go against my own nature for the sake of someone or something unworthy of me. Obviously I have become a much happier person, more than I would have imagined myself ever capable of.



《情書》以後,日本的純愛電影都沒一齣好看了。常常有人拿《戀愛寫真》之類的大同小異的純愛電影跟《情書》比,我說那根本是兩碼子的事,差太遠了。歸根究底,那都是因為那些電影都只想抄《情書》風的純愛,而純愛卻其實不是《情書》本身的重點。那就是高和低的分別呀。看電影的人多到圖書館一點,多看一點書,就會明白為甚麼岩井俊二會選Marcel Proust的《追憶逝水年華》,會分辨感動和陳腔濫調了。

Proust on Past Wounds and the New Self

The possible arrival of these new selves, which should bear a name different from that of their predecessor because of their indifference to what I loved, had always terrified me…… Yet, on the other hand, this much-feared but beneficial person brought me, at the same time as forgetfulness, an almost complete suppression of suffering and the prospect of recovery, for he was none other than one of those alternative selves which fate holds in reserve for us, and which in spite of ourselves – paying no more attention to our prayers than a clear-sighted and all the more authoritarian doctor – it substitutes for our sorely wounded self, in a carefully timed operation. Moreover, it effects this renewal as the need arises, as happens with the wear and repair of bodily cells, but we take no notice unless our old self was nursing some great wound, some painful foreign body, which we are astonished no longer to find, in our marvelling at having become someone else, someone else for whom his predecessor’s suffering is no more than the suffering of a third party, a suffering which we can discuss compassionately because we do not feel it. And we are even quite unmoved at having passed through so much suffering, for we remember only vaguely having suffered. In the same way it may happen that we are terrified by a nightmare. But when we are awake we are another person, who little cares the person he replaces had to flee from murderers in his sleep.

Doubtless this self still kept in touch with the old one, as someone unmoved by the bereavement of a friend nevertheless speaks to his guests with suitable sadness and returns from time to time to the room where his friend, the widower, who has asked him to greet the mourners on his behalf, continues to sob out loud…… But I was tending to move into an entirely new character. It is not because others have died that our affection for them weakens, it is because we ourselves are dying…… He who usurped that name had merely inherited it. We can be faithful only to what we remember, we can remember only what we have known. My new self, while growing in the shadow of the old one, had often heard him speak; through him, through the stories he told of Albertine; he thought he knew her, he sympathized with her, he liked her: but his affection was only second-hand.

—- Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time VI: The Fugitive

The Food of Words

Suddenly I was thinking: if I no longer write as frequently as I have always done, it would be because I am no longer the child that I was. All kinds of experiences have taken away the sharp edge of novelty in all things and covered them with the veil of habit, and thus, at once toughened by the circumstances of life, that is, the life of a grown up individual, and nullified by their mediocre nature, my feelings have also become numb and forgetful. If Music be the food of love, says the Bard, and I would reply, Let Youthful Sentimentality be the food of words. I no longer feel as acutely, and even when I feel something, the effects no longer last as long. In short, I no longer write to vent every little thing that I feel in passionate epic poetry. I am no longer that youth in anguish, the Catcher in the Rye. I am growing old. As the Bard says, Thou shouldst not have been old till thou hadst been wise.

And so if I ever were to write in earnest again, it will not be any of those impulsive discharges that are anything but sophisticated, which I did to be sentimental. When I sit down to write, seriously, it will be because I want to create something great.