webcowgirl: (Jizo)
Oh, one of those mornings when I understand my mother better.

She died at 53, in 2001. Not my goal, you understand; my goal is to live as long as either of my grandmothers, about 89. Maybe longer. But I don't think dying at 53 was my mom's goal.

Anyway, for all of high school and even junior high, I would come home from school and my mom would still be in bed. I guess it didn't register to me it was abnormal. She'd get up after a while, and make dinner, then sit up late watching tv. I think she'd probably break into some wine after I went to bed, but I don't remember ever seeing this, just the empty bottles in the garbage, which mostly never registered as having an meaning.

Someone convinced me at some point that all of this was due to my mom being an alcoholic. Sure, her yelling at us to keep things down on Saturday mornings was probably a hangover talking, but not this staying in bed until 3. I get it now, this morning, laying in bed until 11, letting myself fall asleep again and again, feeling gravity pulling me down so strong, urging me to stay there on my back, on my side, eyes closed, letting the dreams come and go and time pass, and pass, and pass.

Yeah, it's my mom. And it's not alcoholism, it's depression. I hate how I'm getting to understand her better and better as I get older. I worry that I'm replaying her mistakes, too, but I'm seeing now that so many of them weren't really about having bad taste in boyfriends or a feeling of entitlement (that a man should pay her way through life) but probably so much more about being depressed to the point of near paralysis, and then just finally giving up.
webcowgirl: (Default)
It's like this, you see.

If you get mad and are then rude to me, I am now mad at you.

Being told that you're no longer made doesn't stop the part where I am now mad. I expect a discussion and maybe an apology. Maybe the apology should come from both sides, but the fact of the matter is: my mad doesn't just go away.
webcowgirl: (ProustSwirly)
I had this bizarre insight on Monday that Time Regained is kind of like Proust's version of the Phantom Menace. You kind of know how it's all going to end (ooh, is he going to become a writer?) and (so far) everything seems really anticlimactic. All of his best moments have already happened and he's already said his goodbyes (in The Fugitive, the last book he actually wrote). It's very much, "Well, I suppose we have to get through this bit in order for the "real" story to happen" - only PM was a total piece of poo and this isn't THAT bad. It's just ... not as good as what preceded it.

I have also seen the height of Proust's writing powers already, in the increasingly better-written novels that were done after Time Regained was written (I think these are three books, the ones all about Albertine - it's a bit of a shock to go back to mid-career Proust after reading the end of career stuff), and, to me, the actual climax of the series was in the last book, when the narrator goes to Venice, the thing that's been his dream since early, early in the book, when his health and nervous temperament kept him from travelling. So now, he's back in Paris, and, to me, nothing seems the same. Everyone's older, time has marched on ... and while I've enjoyed listening to Proust go on about writing and the value of art (and the value of life to art), I just feel like I'm spending a really long time watching someone slowly expire on a stage while finishing their death arie. At any rate, I'm at page 234 of Finding Time Again, and I've got 124 pages left. My goal is to finish the book in October, meaning it will have taken me two years to have finished it (post on buying it here, post on starting it here). That seems reasonable enough to me, though I really had no idea what I was getting into when I started.
webcowgirl: (Proust quote)
It's kind of sunny outside and it looks like a nice day to do things. I've actually got a vacation day today to spend with my houseguest, but I may not actually be needed. I'll find out pretty soon. I'm awfully down so if today isn't going to work out, I'll probably go back to work - I'm not in good shape for staying at home, especially since the building's water is off today while they replace some pipes.

I'm at page 182 of Time Regained. The narrator is trying to work out a certain feeling of timelessness and figure out what it components are. It's interesting - I feel this book really shows a less mature writing style than The Fugitive, which, sequentially, was written after this one (and was also the last thing he wrote). He's talking about remembering things he wrote about in the last novel, but the way he wrote about experiencing them was so much better than his description of remembering them.

I get the feeling I'm holding off finishing the book because I don't want to be done with it. My two co-readers, [livejournal.com profile] nhw and [livejournal.com profile] emmarytz, have already finished (though [livejournal.com profile] emmarytz skipped a few pages, if I'm not mistaken). If middle age is realizing you're never going to read Remembrance, is finishing it the mark of middle age? Or maybe I've just been seriously distracted by my other books. Accelerando has been fantastic, and the Charlaine Harris mysteries are great.

I am going to write a long quote from How Proust Can Change Your Life, but it's going to keep my day from starting if I type for half an hour, and as I've already been up for a good hour I need to make up my mind about what I'm going to do and do it. But really - what a Proustian conundrum to be in! I can't do things if I write, and if I write I can't do things, so I'm paralyzed with indecision. This would of course imply the correct next move is to go back to bed.
webcowgirl: (Proust book)
I've had a real couple of shocks in the last day or two of reading (I'm at page 624, only 34 more to go). I'll summarize a bit by saying .... his love for Albertine is really and truly dead. The narrator has been in Venice, and I've really been loving reading about it - it's some of the best writing in the entire book, and there's been a fair amount of social comedy, such as this bit from last night, when it was discovered that "the tailor's daughter" is going to marry some poor nobleman:
Mom: It is virtue rewarded! It's a marriage from the end of a novel by Georges Sand!
Son (to himself): It's the wages of sin, it's the marriage from the end of a novel by Balzac!

So the home stretch is in view, and I will be needing Finding Time Again pretty soon, though I appear to have missed out on my chance of getting a hardback copy. Silly me. I should probably get up to snuff and read Madame Bovary and jump on the Bibliogoth bandwagon, but I think I will not be able to get through that book before the end of the month as Proust must be completed first.

Ooh, another Proust blogger! (Isn't it odd to think that someone could be so crazy in love with someone and not bother going to their funeral or to see their grave? It did make me wonder.)

Today: Hairspray and fretting about my work permit.
webcowgirl: (Proust book)
I'm shocked to say I finished a chapter of The Fugitive - I had no idea there was more than one! Last night, the narrator got published. I'm quite suprised about the turn the book has taken for a few reasons. First, I had just read about 500 pages in which he not once discusses actually doing any writing. Second, it's his mom that hands him the paper in which his article is published. Now, the whole time he had his fancy bit living with him, his folks were not once at home. How is it that they suddenly returned right when he got the girlie to head out? It's all just too ridiculous, making the entire Albertine episode seem even more like something that only happened in his imagination. Perhaps it's all a big metaphor - but for what? At any rate, I'm on page 536, and he's going to be going to Venice soon, and I'm quite excited to see how that goes - should get me psyched for my trip in October with my sister.

I am feeling more cheerful today, by the way.

Tonight: I get to hear Guy Maddin narrate My Winnipeg! I wonder if it will be good or if it will be unbearably twee? I need to buy tickets to see his other movies but it hasn't happened for most of them ...
webcowgirl: (Proust book)
Well! After my research trip to Paris last weekend (which I did _without_ my book), I am back to The Fugitive, where I'm now at page 509. While reading in the last few days, I found a reference to the church in Combray, and I thought, "You couldn't possibly have seen that in it, because it doesn't exist! It's just a tacky, worn down little church in the middle of nowhere with an utter lack of stained glass!" But then I thought that what he described was an amalgamation of many churches, and that it isn't really right for me to try to impose the reality of Proust's childhood on the deliberately misnamed places in his book. It's actually a bit like the David Sedaris frou fraw going on (as I read in the New York Times last week and as [livejournal.com profile] scarlettina mentioned in her journal), where somehow there is this expectation that a work that seems autobiographical is actually a representation of reality. It's actually kind of like a template an author can use to tell a story - some outlines, some details may be provided from reality, but the author is busily creating his own world to his own purposes, none of which requires a faithful reproduction of reality - in fact, it would be worse for it.

I hope that I can actually get back to my recreation of these places I had in my head - it would be a lot purer. And I should really think about that Proust short movie I want to do, now featuring shots of my childhood summer home and the associated church. I bet it would be really neat.
webcowgirl: (Proust book)
I somehow forgot in my discussions of work and what I'm doing this week that I can't make plans for Thursday - I'll be gone! No lunch with [livejournal.com profile] spikeylady, no making up for slovenly gym habits by going on Friday - no, I'll be in Paris, soaking up the Proustian feeling and rejoicing in being of a certain age. I'm going to do rather a lot of my trip planning according to this site, which recounts the actual location of many of the places renamed in In Search of Lost Time. I will definitely make the Bois du Boulogne this time (I am expecting I'll go to the zoo, too), and might take a side trip to Illiers-Combray and maybe see Chartres on the Saturday. Wouldn't that be fun? (Okay, for a Proust geek, but still.)

It turns out if I was still at home I could have joined the Proust reading group at the Hugo House. Their blog has got some pretty interesting stuff on it - good thoughts for me to process about The Work. They appear to be a full novel and a half behind me, so I should be able to dip in freely without any spoilers. I'm just now at page 501, and I'd say the feeling is still "she's still dead." I've got about another hundred and fifty before the end of the book, but I'm already scouting around for Time Regained (or Finding Time Again, ISBN 0713996099, possibly available here?) in hardback. I would really like to get through this by the end of the year!

Hmm - perhaps I want to do a beach vacation at Cabourg? Though after seeing Belle-Île en Mer and Quiberon, I wonder if that would be a better idea ...
webcowgirl: (Proust book)
I actually laughed out loud reading The Fugitive on the tube Monday. Our narrator is continuing his perverse jealousy of Albertine and has sent someone to investigate her behavior in a seaside resort. He gets back this letter:

"What Monsieur had suspected is absolutely certain. Mlle A. very often came to take a shower accompanied by a tall woman older than herself, dressed always in grey, and whom the bath-house girl without knowing her name knew of as a result of often having seen her on the look-out for girls. She and Mlle A always locked themselves in the cabin, stayed inside a long time, and the lady in grey gave the lady with whom I had this chat a tip of at least ten francs. As the latter person said to me, you can guess that if they had spent their time making daisy chains they wouldn't have given me a ten-franc tip."

I'm now up to page 488, and I'm imagining I'll be done by the end of the summer. I wish I could say the finish line is in sight, but it's still some ways away!

In other news, the New York Times has an article about two couples who resolve to have sex every night, one for a year, one for a hundred days. Sounds to me like they preferred hamburger to steak ...
webcowgirl: (Proust book)
For all three of you that like Chinese opera, my more substantial review is now available online. I'm afraid writing it this morning might have made me a bit late for work, but, in fact, I made it in on time. Yay!

For the two of you that are keeping track of my Proust adventures, I'm at page 472 of The Prisoner and The Fugitive. The narrator is still grieving, but also reflecting on the randomness of love, how it might be someone not showing up somewhere that leads you to fall in love with someone else, or how someone might console you for being ignored by another and either of these two people might become your eventual love. He also had a fantastic metaphor about how there are many different gates to a memory, and sometimes you are led to think about something through a completely unexpected avenue.

I am guessing at this rate that I will wind up just completely taking Thursday night off - the event I had blocked out on my calendar isn't happening (at least not with me), so, rather than seeing a movie, I think I might just have a night to recover from two solid nights of Chinese opera and actually get some sleep.
webcowgirl: (Proust book)
I've been continuing to plow my way through Remembrance of Things Past (or In Search of Lost Time, which is probably a better title), and I'm realizing that my birthday is coming up, and with it the trip to Paris I planned months ago. I'm excited: I really want to indulge myself in things Proust, and I was thinking that a lovely walk in the Bois de Boulougne would be a perfect summertime activity. I'm at page 453 of the combined Prisoner/Fugitive, and the author is dealing with grief now, and also the difficulty of knowing happy times when you're in the middle of them. God, he's great to read, even though I think he's made it difficult for me to get much enjoyment out of poorly written books.

Proust came up twice in my waking life this week; once in the Pinter book I bought, and a second time last night when I was watching a short film before Iron Man. The narrator of the film was talking about all of the little things he did on a certain day so that he wouldn't be troubled while doing his work; at the end he does no work at all but goes to bed early so he'll wake up rested and ready for his work tomorrow. It was really painfully similar to a lot of the texture of reading Proust, as shown by this mock Proust blog entry (thanks [livejournal.com profile] sallysimpleton). Who'd think he'd be an object of gentle derision?
webcowgirl: (Proust book)
I've hit what I think is a watershed point in The Fugitive, but who knows, really, maybe it's just a blip so the narrator can get on with the rest of the story. Maybe I've misunderstood the title and really he is the fugitive! At any rate, I've been reading a great bit on dealing with the breakup of a relationship and the strange mental turns people take to justify their behavior, especially when you tell someone you don't want to see them anymore when it's the exact opposite of what you really want. Fascinating! Anyway, I'm at page 444 and the book is cooking along pretty well despite being put aside completely while I was in Orlando and Genoa. I'm eager to see how the rest of this book plays out.
webcowgirl: (HotTomato)
I had a great time out last night and saw lots of friends. A pub full of people I know - how great is that! [livejournal.com profile] friend_of_tofu got very excited when I told her that I have House on Haunted Hill and asked me to bring it the E&M do at the end of the month, but .. well, now I don't know if I have it or not!

I tried to leave early but it was already 9:30 by the time I got back to Putney, and then I ruined my extra-long night's sleep by writing up The Good Soul of Szechuan, which [livejournal.com profile] wechsler and I saw Monday night at the Young Vic. I enjoyed it, but Brecht is not everyone's cup of tea.

Meanwhile I'm back to Marcel and have started The Fugitive part of The Prisoner and The Fugitive. I'm on page 401, in the middle of a big section all about loss. I read almost two pages from it to [livejournal.com profile] wechsler, all about how intuition understands what the intellect doesn't in regard to relationships - how the signs that it's over will register at one level even while you deny them as "not making any sense." I thought it was really great.

I've been treating this as Dress Like a Girl week due to the good weather (see icon), although I'm not sure if the weather is going to cooperate today. Time to get off the couch and get to it, though!
webcowgirl: (Proust book)
I realize that almost nobody cares, but I'm excited to report I finished The Prisoner, the first half of the tome I've been lugging around since February. I feel that the 384 pages this represents seems quite pathetic, but this book has just not captured me the way the other ones have (though it picked up midway as a couple conspired to socially destroy another character in the book). It's odd to think that he wrote it so late in his life, and that The Fugitive (the other half), should, in fact, represent the pinnacle of his writing. On the other hand, I'm really looking forward to Time Regained now, since it should mark a return to the writing I've enjoyed and will have a complete lack of Albertine in it. (I guess I'll miss Albertine, truth be told, but I rejoice in the thought of never hearing the narrator speak of her again - in another 350 pages or so.)

I've been up packing long enough to get punchy, so it's time to go to bed. I'll be heading to the airport around 10 AM tomorrow.

LATER: I just figured out how to take the bus from the airport to my hotel, and now feel public transportation 133t.
webcowgirl: (Proust book)
Let's see ... I was kind of cracking up yesterday at work when I saw this article on the rise in popularity of nudist vacations. The big laughs were from how amusingly work-safe the pictures were - it was funny how an arm just wound up here and a hat blocked there.

I did make it to the gym yesterday but was too busy to blog about it - I spent all of my time figuring out how much time I had left to do some work and then being asked to recalculate it, thereby losing more time. My split time was an abyssmal 2:39.7, showing my boredom, but I got my heart rate up to 147 BPM, much better than last Wednesday (stroke rate 30 so not too shabby). I'd like to figure out how to get a higher heart rate while biking - I'm going at the right speed but it doesn't seem to be having enough of an effect.

I didn't take Proust with me this weekend and was kind of missing it, except for the weight (and the fact it let me rip through another Charlaine Harris novel). I'm at 349 of The Prisoner, making great progress, only 35 more pages until the end ... of this half of the book.

I've also pretty well decided that I'm going to do a manatee swim/snorkel trip in Florida, as there's one that leaves on Fridays in Orlando and I can easily skip the farewell lecture at the conference and do that instead. I'll link to it when I get to work. (LATER: link here.) It's about $120, but I think it sounds so cool - who knows when I'll ever get to see manatees again? And I think it will help me deal with being so pathetically lonely for a week. I'm really wishing I'd found someone to join me there, but it's just too expensive for pretty much everyone I know to come to Florida just to hang out with me for a few days.
webcowgirl: (Proust quote)
Major Barbara last night was a lot of fun - it's great to see such a well-written play performed so sharply. Shaw always leaves me thinking about the lives of his characters before and after the moment of the plays, so I'm thinking he's probably hitting my limited pantheon of "great" writers (ooh, I am able to pick out the Nobel prize winners, aren't I something!). I was particularly amused my how the play was so perfectly au courant for 1905 and yet so completely engaging, something that won't be true for Angels in America as time goes on, I fear. My review's up here though I can't really add much to the West End Whingers.

Proust is really rocketing along - I'm at page 330 of The Prisoner and the Fugitive, and I've caught myself reading it when I'm not on the Tube. Lord, what is happening to me? He's pretending to break up with his girlfriend in order to make her give up her wishes to spend time with people who make him jealous, and I'm finding it all just ... well, twisted, but also a sadly timeless tactic. My suspicion is that it is going to backfire on him, but we'll see.
webcowgirl: (Proust book)
So I've been in the middle of this thirty page buildup to someone getting his come-uppance from a group of people that he had thought to be his friends - but apparently only insofar as any one of them can keep the slightly psychotic hostess of this group happy. She's arranging this man's downfall, and when it happens, rather than displaying the brilliant wit and social power he has to destroy this woman and her group, he just kind of ... withers away and doesn't do a thing to save friendships he could have rescued with the merest of attempts to clear things up in person. Here's the quote from The Prisoner and the Fugitive:

"It is true that he could have [...solved everything] by asking Morel to talk to him for a few minutes. But he thought it would be beneath his dignity ... There is almost always, attached to the idea of a conversation that might clear up a misunderstanding, some other idea which for one reason or another makes us reluctant to have that conversation. The man who has backed down and shown weakness in twenty different circumstances, will stand on his pride the twenty-first time, the only time when it would have been useful not to dig his heels in and dispel a misapprehension that can only grow stronger in his adversary for want of an explanation." (Prisoner, p. 294.)

What I find so great about Proust is that even though so much has changed since the time in which this novel has set, human nature has remained exactly as he described it. J pointed out that maybe this is why it is a classic; and while I think there are many other reasons one might say that of this novel, truly, his insightful understandings of people and their weaknesses make Remembrance a still-timely read.

Am full of sake and Japanese food now - left work at 7:30 PM. Tired. Happy Saturday, everyone.
webcowgirl: (Proust book)
The Prisoner and the Fugitive is up to page 255. I just got through an about 10 page long description of a beautiful work of music, which has me wondering who "Vinteuil" is supposed to be. The narrator seems to have had the realization that art is the way in which two souls communicate their differences to one another, but rather than being about conflict, it's about each person's uniqueness. He's at a party where this music was played, and I'm relieved for him to be out of the claustrophobic confines of his house, but someone has passed out at the party (and will die) and the hosts' selfish attitudes toward death (don't want it to spoil the event!) are actually very disturbing to me - they've teased and abused this character constantly and I can't help but feel their treatment is responsible for his collapse. Just a fictional character, but it still upset me a lot!
webcowgirl: (lace)
So today I've decided to break out the tiger striped stockings I bought from Calzedonia while I was in Taormina. Normally I'd avoid things like this like the plague, but they're kind of sparkly, and paired with a knee-length black skirt and nearly knee-length lace up Victorian boots (and a brown/red/yellow clingy sweater), it actually looks kind of good and not at all like Scottsdale matron.

Actually, I realized they look a whole lot like what Olivia Newton-John was wearing during the grand finale of Xanadu, in the rocker "I won't be needing any love for a while" bit, where she had on an ultra-short miniskirt and her hair was piled up on top of her head. I think she even had some spray-on sweat on her face to round out the look.

And the thing is, I've got this party to go to Saturday, Victorian costume, but suddenly I'm thinking, "Yeah, Olivia Newton-John in Xanadu, that's what I really want to dress up as." It would look great around a bunch of people in bustles and top hats, too.

I got a great laugh reading The Prisoner and the Fugitive yesterday (now up to page 206). Mr. Charlus has just intercepted a letter to the man he's in love with (whom I think does not reciprocate his affections), in which a lesbian expresses her passionate interest in him and makes references to him being "one of _those_." Mr. Charlus is now going crazy because he cannot imagine what exactly this man is one of, because clearly what he isn't is gay, but Mr. Charlus can't imagine what else this man IS. I have my own thoughts on the subject, but I really just wish Proust had gone ahead and included the entire letter instead of just making veiled references to what is going on!
webcowgirl: (Naruse)
I'm dropping offline until Saturday or so - well, not posting, I'll probably read and comment. I'll keep doing theater posts and work on some other writing in my spare time. If I'm feeling REALLY butch I'll keep it up until after the 12th.

PS: Proust is at 164, a long passage about how you notice when people are lying.

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