Saturday, January 17, 2009

You've Got Mail; from Me

"The time at our disposal each day is elastic; the passions we feel dilate it, those that inspire us shrink it, and habit fills it."
Marcel Proust

When I found I would be the only adult in our home for four days last week, I thought: "I'll write and write and write!" But actually, instead, I read and read and read. And caught a cold. (Isn't it always the way?) I found myself reading some moving poetry by Amanda, "I'm Here" which can be read here: and I found myself grieving. The number of decades that pass do not dull or nullify the memories or poignant sense of loss that may appear at any time. Their subscription never expires. So, since I have not (I tell myself) watched the film, You've Got Mail for several years now (disputable) and there would be no-one to argue this or add this view to the tally, I indulged myself. I don't know this, but I would not be surprised to learn that I am one of very few who cries without fail when they watch this movie. Nearly an example of reflexivity, I am the film and the film is me. (Was this always the case or did it become so?) A mirror within a mirror. The main character states, "So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn't it be the other way around?" And, "Confession: I have read Pride and Prejudice about 200 times. I get lost in the language; words like thither... mischance... I'm always in agony over whether Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are really going to get together! Read it, I know you'll love it!" I get lost in the rhythm journey emotion of this film. I have watched it untold times! I have played it in the background as if a record album to keep me company while I do the dreaded dishes. The language and pacing are musical to me. The light and setting a warm and evocative rendering of quotidian life. I can go to it in Filofax fashion and call up whichever identification suits.

This time, it was to grieve my Mother. When Kathleen Kelly confesses, after acknowledging defeat in the losing of her store, her Mother's store, "Soon we'll just be a memory. In fact, someone, some foolish person will probably think it's a tribute to this city, the way it keeps changing on you, the way you can never count on it, or something. I know, because that's the sort of thing I'm always saying. But the truth is, I'm heartbroken. I feel as if part of me has died, and my mother has died all over again, and no one can ever make it right. " She sees before her, a vision, ghostly and luminescent, of herself and her Mother from another time, happy, unsuspecting, secure. This has always brought me to tears, cut right to the quick of me. The funny thing is, the trigger's effect has scarcely changed, and those who know me best can not comprehend in the least why this should be so. I never questioned it, merely accepted it. But now, in looking at the way I perceive memory, and experience nostalgia on the whole, I can see that my perceptions and experiences are likely to be different than those others with whom I share my life, whether or not I understand or comprehend or apprehend them myself.

Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.
Marcel Proust

No comments:

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
This work by is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.