Thursday, July 30, 2009

'Literary Charlatan and Degenerate"

In high school, I had a wonderful friend who spoke slowly and was beautiful, even at age 15. She told me she wanted to become Colette and I thought she meant the orphan from Les Miserables, and wondered why anyone would want to walk around with smudged cheeks singing "Castle On A Cloud."

That's Cosette.

Colette is different; and while younger-days Colette may be a little much for me, old-lady Colette is a dream: living alone, fully content to sit quietly and think deeply and move slowly. She is a woman fully engaged in the process of becoming, one who does not rely on others to tell her what her name is. Having had a few decades of debauchery under her belt (that's not the word I want to use, but what else to call a lifetime of living life to the teeth and scandalizing people everywhere you go and making memories that people who become old too soon do not make? Perhaps I'll think of the word later), she is then happy to smell the smells her garden makes and to live to her own rhythms, now more peaceful.

Reading Break of Day is like looking into what I hope my own thought patterns are like when I'm older, and it comforts me that even the author herself admits that she hasn't arrived yet. "Are you imagining, as you read me, that I'm portraying myself? Have patience: this is merely my model."

And still, she is yet another grave at Père Lachaise that we didn't have time to find.


tim said...

That's a thing though, right?

St. Augustin's confessions... Hesse's Sidhartha...

The experimenter of the senses turned ascetic. Sounds very "Hero with a thousand faces."

That being said, Colette is surely a great one... and vast are the cemeteries of Père Lachaise and Montparnasse.

Great post.

huysmantrophy said...

thanks tim! two of my other favorite books of all time... except, if i am sitting at home reading them, can i possibly hope to imitate them? Also, where the hell is Jim Morrison?