Marcel Proust spent 13 years writing and expanding his 7-volume autobiographical novel, obsessing over getting it just right, at leaving nothing out. And then no one would publish it. So he published it himself. It became one of the most influential novels of all time. Published in English as Remembrance of Thing Past, its title À la recherche du temps perdu, actually translates to In Search of Lost Time.
Aren’t we all? Here’s what Proust learned:
“Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.”
I’ve been planning a memoir, but fear it will end up wildly inaccurate. So I take heart from Proust’s words. What matters most, I think, is not whether I remember my past exactly as it occurred, but what I’ve learned from it, what, for good or for bad, it has made me. So, I may do a poor job of remembering my past, but I pray at least I’ll do a good job of…
Remembering my future.
“Our life is not our life, merely the story we have told about our life. Told to others, but—mainly—to ourselves.” ~Julian Barnes
“The past is beautiful because one never realizes an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.” ~Virginia Woolf
“Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.” ~Cormac McCarthy
“I think it is all a matter of love. The more you love a memory the stronger and stronger it becomes” ~Vladimir Nabokov
“’It’s a poor sort of memory that only works backwards,’ said the White Queen to Alice.” ~Lewis Carroll
Remember your future well.