Today, November 18th, is the anniversary of Marcel Proust’s death in 1922. If you will look in the column to the right of this post, you will see a badge that says “Nanowrimo participant”. Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and I have committed myself to the writing of a book. Part of what I am writing includes a visit from Marcel Proust, who, as you can read below if you so choose, has just esconced himself in our guest bed and is preparing to tell me a story. In honor of the anniversary of Marcel Proust’s death, I offer this excerpt from my 50,ooo word not-so-magnum opus:
“Francoise now had Marcel propped up in the bed, with pillows and sweaters piled up behind him, and on either side of him, so that he could prop his elbows on them as he ate his croissant and drank his coffee, with the tray on a pillow on his lap. Francoise stood at the foot of the bed, watching as Marcel finished his croissant and then going to fetch another as he requested. While she was gone, he lay back on the pillows and closed his eyes. He looked so much, at the moment, like the photograph taken by Man Ray after Proust had died, of him lying on his death bed with his sunken eyes closed and his nose sharp with skin stretched tight over it, that I was frozen in time, staring at the face I’d never seen in reality and yet- here it was. He opened his eyes and caught me staring at him. He smiled. “Do not worry, Madame, I will be restored soon. And then I will begin the story”.