Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I Dream of Proust

You'd think that with all the reading I do books would make frequent appearances in my dreams. They don't. They show up so rarely that when they make themselves known I am surprised by it. Like last night. I dreamed about Proust. I was sitting with a few other people around a table. We had notebooks and pens and various editions of Proust spread out all over. I don't remember there being a teacher, but I had the feeling this was a class and someone was lecturing but then stopped to ask what we, the class, thought Proust was really about. The kiss-up student (there is always one in every class) said Proust was about memory and spent a long time giving opinions that were not her/his (can't remember which) own but that obviously came from outside reading sources. While this was going on, the rest of us sat there rolling our eyes or staring at our notebooks. Then, suddenly, the student was done and a silence fell and the rest of us were supposed to say something. So a girl, the one who always asks the dumb questions, and there are dumb questions I don't care that anyone says there aren't, says that she thinks Proust is about clothing. I don't remember her explanation but I don't have to because I know exactly where it came from. I finished reading part one of In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower the other day. The section ends with detailed descriptions and observations about Odette's clothes. And, really, the whole of part one continuously details Odette's wardrobe and what it says about her. I was amazed that a man would pay such minute attention to clothing, but then corrected myself because Proust is not just any man. Proust pays attention to everything including women's clothes. But in my dream, the student's comment was laughed at. Then it was my turn to say something. In a weird dreamy voice that I never use except to mock people who speak in weird dreamy voices, I said "Proust is about luh-ve." I said nothing else, figuring it was rather obvious if anyone had been paying attention to their reading. I got nothing but silent stares and everyone waiting for me to continue. I heaved a sigh of frustration that I had to explain myself. Just as I started to gather my thoughts, the cat announced his presence in the bedroom (he always announces his presence and doesn't shut up until he is sure I'm awake), jumped up on the bed and curled up on my knees. So much for the Proust dream. I wish I knew what I was going to say. I'm sure it would have been brilliant.