Friday, July 16, 2010

On waiting

Maura Kelly comments on Marcel Proust's work:
    His narrator (conveniently named Marcel) can help a reader to re-live the emotional experience of longing in a way that makes it feel deliciously exquisite -- the way it can in childhood (think of the wonderful anticipation you used to feel on a happy Christmas Eve, or even how you would almost burst with the most enjoyable impatience as you waited for those brownies to come out of the oven).
    By the time we get to adulthood, however, whatever pleasantness we used to associate with waiting often gets subsumed by anxiety: Will he ever, ever call? Will I get the job? Will I ever write -- or sell -- my novel? Because in childhood, we wait for things we know are coming; in adulthood, we don't know if so many of the things we are waiting for will ever come.

And it's true what she says -- not about Proust's writing because I certainly couldn't comment on it, not having read it -- but about waiting: because as an adult, you realise there are so many factors, elements, conditions out of your control. That's why I believe in carpe diem, seizing the day... you change the things you can, because there are are enough things you can't. So instead of sitting there and mourning about what you can't make happen, do something with what you can.

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