Morning Coffee with Proust

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He began, always, with the sustained tremolos of the violin part which for several bars was heard alone, filling the whole foreground; until suddenly it seemed to draw aside, and–as in those interiors by Pieter de Hooch which are deepened by the narrow frame of a half-opened door, in the far distance, of a different colour, velvety with the radiance of some intervening light–the little phrase appeared, dancing, pastoral, interpolated, episodic, belonging to another world.

Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past

Rising to a cold, dark, rainy morning for the fourth day in a row, I could have harbored a sourpuss outlook on life, but I had an appointment to meet a student of mine whom I last saw eleven years ago (teachers know how rich and delightful it is to “catch up” with the lives of those who touched us profoundly in the classroom long ago). Jake was a true lover of literature and ideas while a senior in high school, and happily, that hasn’t diminished for him at all. When he was in my class, we were both reading Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. Kerouac’s mention of Proust meant little to me at that time, but a long-time teacher friend of mine alerted me to Proust’s delicious way of describing sensations in his famous novel.

Returning home, I opened my volume to the bookmark where I last read (I wonder if I will ever complete my reading of the three-volume work!) and stopped with the passage posted above. I had to close the book and sigh deeply a few moments. Music has flooded my soul with joy for as long as I can recall. In fact, I have scores of “Proustian recollections” associated with particular songs when they are played. They transport me immediately out of my present environment and re-position me in a warm, primal state for a few moments. I always wish the moment would remain, but of course, it never does. Nevertheless, I am grateful for that visitation.

I am a YouTube junkie, and as I read and blog, I always have music playing–the type that doesn’t distract from thinking. In fact, as I compose this, I have “Relaxing Background Guitar Music – meditate, focus, study, think” playing, and the effect is hypnotic. I honestly believe music and literature and visual art keep me from ever feeling alone, though I live and travel alone.

Thanks for reading

I paint in order to discover.

I journal when I feel alone.

I blog to remind myself I am not alone.

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