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I thrive on these coincidences. Headed up to the sanctuary of the local art school library, where I can be alone with Rembrandt, Breughel, or even the Fluxus group with Joseph Beuys. Ultimately, though, I check out writers isolated against the back wall, behind their Dewey Decimals. Kafka, Kristeva, find Frank O’Hara: Poet Among Painters, & Knut Hamsun. A little gem of a red volume of Proust’s last installment: Time Regained. Get home, open randomly to, And so the cruel discovery I had just made with regard to the passage of Time could not fail to combine with all these other ideas and be of value to me in connection with the core and substance of my book. What cruel discovery? Well, Proust first coolly places his discovery in an amusing fictive context, whereupon a young woman suggests they dine sometime at a restaurant together, & while the author agrees, he adds the caveat that he hopes she not mind being seen in public with a young man. Those within earshot laugh & snicker. He corrects himself. I should say, with an old one. This sudden, cruel, realization regarding the effects of Time on the Body jumpstarts his final ruminations on Time’s ruins: his own body, & those of others. It’s a significant lesson. One he feels most people ignore until the ravages of Time are visible, or felt. Proust skates upon the surface for a while describing the lines of Time on various of his contemporaries’ faces, or in the lithe length of Gilberte’s sixteen-year-old daughter, which he says is the measure of those same number of years already long lost to him. Then, finally, he dives to a depth of understanding only a writer of his caliber, obsessed with the nature of Time, could plumb, following the trail of Time’s relation to the body to the extent that, After death, Time withdraws from the body, & memories are effaced.


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