Reading: Julien Gracq

The Narrow Waters:

At times it seems as though a grid inside us, older than ourselves, full of holes, and with entire sections missing, randomly decodes from these inspired excursions the influences that will shape future episodes of our lives…. such sites are known to mysteriously unveil the future: they already fly the colors behind which we will later rally….

What stops me the moment I think of setting out again on the narrow, still river is not the fear of dispelling the charm of memories.  Rather, it’s the impossibility of reanimating a dream…. The images that undold along every initiatory journey enigmatically recall a destined encounter, an encounter they both foretell and later incarnate.

The Shape of a City:

At the very moment when, at age eighteen, a period of my life came to an end, the city closed off and sealed an entire block of my memories with these major municipal projects.  It is strange that instead of causing a profound sense of separation, this solution to a problem involving the continuity of a place and of a life eliminates from my ruminations about Nantes the touch of worry when trying to recall what lies buried in the past.  But, perhaps, not so strange after all… The acrimony that accompanies ruminations about aging arises from the fact that our memories are situated in settings which have remained intact: it is the immutable youthfulness of the world that makes the underlying decay and decrepitude it supports difficult for us to take in stride.  Nothing of that sort happens when I find myself walking again in Nantes.  My old town–my old life–and their new versions do not succeed each other in chronological order but overlap in my mind.  The energy flowing between them transcends time, memory is set free of melancholy and gravity’s weight; the feeling of a reference outside linear time propels me forward, fusing images images of the past into the present rather than pulling my mind backward….

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