I am easily distracted, and can intensely focus only on a thing that is not the thing I am supposed to be doing1. So, instead of making progress past the first page of “Swann’s Way”2, I have picked up “A Fan’s Notes” by Frederick Exley.
And it is marvelous. I find that I have to read with a pencil in hand because so often I feel compelled to underline what seems as if it is the perfect sentence, or a sentiment is so accurately stated in an unexpected way that it simply must be noted for future reference. I think that if one day I loan the book to someone I will want them to take note, and perhaps they will feel the same way, such that there will be an unspoken dialogue between the two of us. They will nod their head to the “ha!” in the margin next to the underlined “the stillness was of that horrified kind that follows a fart in a Methodist church”.
Additionally, neither of these books is getting me any closer to a finished thesis proposal, that was ostensibly due on November 1st.
1I am fully aware that this is not a rare condition.
2I think the problem that I’m having with Proust, is that I have no idea what to feel or think, or even what is happening. This experience isn’t just from the first page; I have tried to read “Swann’s Way” on quite a few occasions and in my best attempt I made it about sixty pages in. In a recent email, when trying to explain the experience I wrote, “I feel as though one must dive straight in and keep swimming down, down, down, knowing that you may never find the bottom and praying that you have enough air to last with this Proust fellow. I don’t know that I’m ready to take that on.”
Oh dear! How dramatic it all sounds…