7.13.2020 – When I get old, I

When I get old, I
shall read Proust, was the thought – will
I see with new eyes?

I like stories about people and their books.

Maybe because I feel more at home in the world when there other people who regard books as parts of their lives instead of props.

Young Abraham Lincoln reading a borrowed copy of the Life of George Washington at night and placing in between the logs of the cabin for safe keeping.

Then it snows and water seeps in and ruins the book.

Young Abe walks 50 miles and offers to split thousands of fence rails to make up for the loss.

When he finishes the chore and reports to the owner that he is done, the owner presents him with the somewhat waterlogged copy of the book.

Paul the Apostle, writing a reminder in one of his letters to please send his coat AND don’t forget the books!

Thomas Jefferson selling his library to the US Government to establish the Library of Congress and also pay off some personal debts.

As soon as he gets the notified that the money from Congress is in the bank, Mr. Jefferson orders more books.

James Thurber getting his nerve together and going over to an ex-wfe’s house to reclaim his collected works of Henry James.

There is a marvelous video of an interview with historian Shelby Foote on YouTube.

CSpan’s Brian Lamb has Mr. Foote walk the viewer on a tour through his personal library where he did most of his work.

What surprised me is that Mr. Foote stopped at a set of the collected works of Marcel Proust.

It is a set that Mr. Foote says his mother gave him for his 17th birthday.

Mr. Foote said, “Everytime I feel the right to do it, I quit everything and re-read Proust.”

One reason he says if for the pure enjoyment.

And the other is that a writer can always learn from Proust.

I was intrigued to say the least.

Don’t much besides a few quotes from the writings of Marcel Proust.

Like Calculus and Neils Bohr’s heavy water and the Taft family of Ohio, Proust, or at least his name, is floating around in my brain like an ice berg.

Something I was aware of but didn’t know much about.

And aware that a lot more of it was below the water line if I cared to find out.

Cricket was like that and one summer I decided I would learn to understand what cricket was all about.

Now I am hooked on cricket. T20, ODI or TEST?

Mr. Foote, in the sweet Mississippi voice of his, recalls the pleasure of reading the 3000 pages.

When would I have time for Proust?

Every summer I try to read a famous classic that I have never read.

The Way of All Flesh.

Sinister Street.

War and Peace.

Last summer I hit Look Homeward Angel but got lost in the slog.

After hearing Mr. Foote I promised myself that when I got old I would read Proust.

This is the summer I turn 60.

I an thinking I have earned the right.

Stay tuned.

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