How far are we from Yesterday?

“How Far are we from Yesterday?” Martha Marcy Lay Marlene (Movie 2011)

“Every passion borders on the chaotic, but the collector’s passion borders on the chaos of memories”.

“…ownership is the most intimate relationship that one can have to objects. Not that they come alive in him; it is he who lives in them. So I have erected one of his dwellings, with books as the building stones, before you, and now he is going to disappear inside, as is only fitting”.

Unpacking My Library | Walter Benjamin

No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory – this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me it was me… Whence did it come? What did it mean? How could I seize and apprehend it? … And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeline which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before mass), when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dippint it first in her own cup of tea or tisane. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it. And all from my cup of tea.”

A la Recherche du Temps Perdu | Marcel Proust

“the work of art can recapture the lost and thus save it from destruction, at least in our mind. Art triumphs over the destructive power of time”

Wikipedia on Marcel Proust’s “A la recherche du temps perdu”

“Hadriana in Jacmel’s Dreams”- in After the Dance by Edwidge Danticat

Jacmel’s Resident Goddess is Hadriana Siloe. One of the most beautiful women in town, Hadriana dies at the altar in the middle of her wedding ceremony. Her body is exposed at the square for a public wake before her funeral. Except she is not dead. It only apears so. Her apparent demise was caused by a man with mystical powers who whows himself as a giant butterfly. Hadriana becomes a zombie.

A few hours after her burial, Hadriana is exhumed from her grave but manages to escape, running off to the mountains, wher she is mistaken for Simbi Lasous, the spirit of springs and fresh waters, and is invited to accompany a group of migrants off to permanent exile in Jamaica:

This is the premise of René Depestre’s  Hadriana dans tous mes rêves (Hadriana in All My Dreams), a celebrated novel set in Jacmel. Born in Jacmel in 1926, the poet-novelist Depestre is one of Haiti’s most prolific and best-known writers. The winner of several prestigious international prizes, he is considered by some to be Haiti’s best shot at a Nobel Prize. Even though he has been living outside of Haiti for more than forty years and has never returned, Depestre draws upon childhood memories of the 1938 carnival season for his 1988 novel, and in it he has created a character that lives far beyond the pages of his book.

Hadriana is one of those rare literary cases in which a novel’s character becomes even more real, and more powerful, than actual people. For many Jacmelians, including Divers, even powering her existence parallels the question that many agnostics ask themselves about God. Did we create God or did God create us? Did Dépestre and Jacmel create Hadriana or did she create Jacmel and Dépestre?

Edwidge Danticat

A potent cocktail of palm trees, poets … and peace

Picture Source: Wikipedia

Tracy Chevalier, author of world-acclaimed “Girl with a Pearl Earring” discovered paradise while sipping rum on her hotel verandah. An Article on A Potent Cocktail of Palm Trees, Poets… and Peace