Proust

Baking Memories

Et bientôt, machinalement, accablé par la morne journée et la perspective d’un triste lendemain, je portai à mes lèvres une cuillerée du thé où j’avais laissé s’amollir un morceau de madeleine. Mais à l’instant même où la gorgée mêlée des miettes du gâteau toucha mon palais, je tressaillis, attentif à ce qui se passait d’extraordinaire en moi. Un plaisir délicieux m’avait envahi, isolé, sans la notion de sa cause. Il m’avait aussitôt rendu les vicissitudes de la vie indifférentes, ses désastres inoffensifs, sa brièveté illusoire, de la même façon qu’opère l’amour, en me remplissant d’une essence précieuse: ou plutôt cette essence n’était pas en moi, elle était moi. J’avais cessé de me sentire médiocre, contingent, mortel. D’où avait pu me venir cette puissante joie? Je sentais q’elle était liée au goût du thé et du gâteau, mais qu’elle le dépassait infiniment, ne devait pas être de même nature. [source] [Marcel Proust: Combray. p.44].

The smell, the taste because we have such a hard time to reproduce a memory before our inner nose, our inner tongue, much in the same way we recall an image that in turn allows us to memorize an element of a story, create much stronger memories when recalled.

There is no ars memorativa of smell, only the sudden flash when you open a drawer and find yourself back home.

Baking a cake or creating perfumes are possible ways to recreate the memory of smell.

Is there a Zamp in my Memory?

The evening ritual had settled in to first read Dr. Seuss: There's a Zamp in My Lamp while sitting on the bed so she could pull, rotate and wiggle all the different tabs in the book and then I would move to the leather chair to sit under the reading lamp and continue with my reading of Combray while she searches for the bist place and the best position to sleep, rolling around to feel the energy of the ever square inch, much in the way Castaneda describes it in the Teachings of Don Juan. Marcel Proust A la recherche du temps perdu

The German paperback edition I am reading is uttely disappointing in its print quality, yet she likes the three heavy volumes that give her a feeling of the 4194 pages (I am confident that we're through before she leaves for college, we have at least another 15 years to go) ahead of us.

While reading to her, I'm asking myself what the Proust's Narrateur would have thought of Dr. Seuss and if reading Cat in thew Hat or hat in the Cat would have releaved him from the terrible pain of going to bed. Did Seuss read Proust? The strange mixture of these orthogonal approaches to the ghosts that surround us, that are part of our house, our life creates an experience, a memory that may well be independent from the actual text by telling a story of movable paper tabs and a stream of vaguely comprehensible words in excessively long sentences. At 3 1/2 it is hard for her to explain why she likes Proust or Seuss but they are both important to us as a way to tell a new story.