dimanche 10 juillet 2011

Today is my birthday

This blog has been neglected of late because, frankly, lots of things have been going on. Movies and music, visits from friends and departures of people living in my household who I have grown quite fond of, baseball and books...

Birthdays are not all that important to me, which may be why I often forget other people's. Thanks to facebook, this happens less frequently. I did not think of my birthdays at 30, 40, 45 or 50 as milestones in any way, shape or form. I guess I don't mark my life in terms of milestones or any other rites of passage. I mark it in terms of the passage of time. I have never had a specific life plan and have never really understood the question "do you feel your age"? This doesn't mean I am unaware of what time does to one's outlook and outward look. I don't think of other people in terms of their age, but rather in terms of their intelligence, their wisdom, their sense of fun and play, whether or not they understand what matters and what does not.

I am grateful for my friends and for all of the relationships and encounters that have marked my life so far. This includes various members of my family, but it also includes people with whom I have shared the same space for a minute or two and with whom I have shared experiences, big and small. There is grandeur in small things. That's what Proust taught me.

We share the same date of birth, Marcel Proust and me. He is my favorite author by far. He died at the age of 51, a fact that I happened to discover when I too was 51. I was 51 before I really discovered Proust by beginning to read him in the language in which he wrote. In fact, I had read parts of A la recherche du temps perdu in English translation while living in Shanghai. I must say, it did not have the same impact on me. Who knows? Maybe that's why I went to France. So that I could read Proust one day.

I love the passing of time. Proust would not disagree.

C'est là en effet un des grands et merveilleux caractères des beaux livres que pour l'auteur ils pourraient s'appeler "Conclusions" et pour le lecteur "Incitations".

La beauté des êtres n'est pas comme celle des choses. Nous sentons qu'elle est celle d'une créature unique, consciente et volontaire.

On ne connaît pas son bonheur. On n'est jamais aussi malheureux qu'on croit.

How old Margaret Ganong?

Old Margaret Ganong fine. How you?

Here is old Margaret as she appears today. Photo courtesy of Mathilde.

* Proust quotations translated

This in effect is one of the grand and marvellous characteristics of great books; for their author they could be called "Conclusions" and for the reader "Encouragements" (beginnings).

The beauty of beings is not like that of things. We feel that it is the beauty of a unique, aware and purposeful creature.

We don't know our happiness. We are never as unhappy as we believe.