[at-l] at-l] Proust and the End Of The World, was Recovering posts teaser

Jan Lite liteshoe at gmail.com
Mon Jan 4 13:41:06 CST 2010

Okay, I will share.
No girlie tricks though. I wanted to post this on Facebook first, because I
had some non-hiker friends on there I wanted to engage, and well as some of
you rowdy bunch.
It was a post by Sloetoe on Proust in 2002, and I never forgot it, as I was
paring down my life to go out hiking the AT:

*Tom McGinnis* sloetoe at yahoo.com
*Mon Nov 24 16:34:09 CST 2008*

[thanks, laz.]

Here's what I wrote nearly 10 years ago --
as I was realizing my head had been years in the sand.
It was a big wake-up period, and reading the Proust piece
as I describe it below really was a watershed moment.
It still sometimes takes an effort, but I try like hell to
remain faithful, too. Hope you enjoy.

(May, 1999)
Picked up a copy of the January 12 edition of The New York Times
front section the other day... I was struck by a quote from Marcel
Proust in a piece at the bottom of the page.
The piece was by a gent named Alain de Botton, writer of a
book titled "How Proust Can Change Your Life." The quote struck me
because it so well expressed one slant on my [then recent] adoption
of Helen Keller's "Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing at

So let me set up the quote. In the early '20s, the Paris, France
newspaper "L'Intransigeant" would pose interesting questions to a mix
of people — politicians, actors, beggars, businesspeople, the
housebound, etc — and see how the mix would react. Like the recent
asteroid movies, one question (paraphrased) was "The End of the World
is irrefutably predicted to occur in a matter of hours. What would be
the effect of this prediction on people between the time of the
announcement and the moment of apocalypse? And what would you do in
these last hours?" (We're not hiking or running related yet, are we?)

One of the persons tagged for an answer was novelist Marcel Proust,
who's "In Search of Lost Time" had been translated into English as
"Remembrance of Things Past." Proust answered as follows:

    I think that life would suddenly seem wonderful to us if
    we were threatened to die as you say. Just think of how
    many projects, travels, love affairs, studies, it — our
    life — hides from us, made invisible by our laziness
    which, certain of a future, delays them incessantly.

    But let all this threaten to become impossible forever,
    how beautiful it would become again! Ah! If only the
    cataclysm doesn't happen this time, we won't miss
    visiting the new galleries of the Louvre, throwing
    ourselves at the feet of Miss X, making a trip to India.

    The cataclysm doesn't happen, we don't do any of it,
    because we find ourselves back in the heart of normal
    life, where negligence deadens desire. And yet we
    shouldn't have needed the cataclysm to love life today.
    It would have been enough to think that we are humans,
    and that death may come this evening.

** <http://www.backcountry.net/pipermail/at-l/2008-November/011151.html>*...

On Sun, Jan 3, 2010 at 11:23 PM, nightwalker.at at gmail.com <nightwalker.at@
gmail.com> wrote:

> Okay. I will ask again in 45 minutes. You've done this before. I can tell.
> Grrr on the girlie tricks!!!
> P.S. You are coming to the ruck, right? And hubby? PleasePleasePlease?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jan Lite <liteshoe at gmail.com>
> Sent: Sunday, January 03, 2010 11:19 PM
> To: nightwalker.at at gmail.com <nightwalker.at at gmail.com>
> Cc: at-l <at-l at backcountry.net>; Linda Patton <lpatton at fsu.edu>
> Subject: Re: Recovering posts teaser
> Mmmm, maybe tomorrow...
> maybe
> ;-)
> Secretive Shoe
> On Sun, Jan 3, 2010 at 11:18 PM, nightwalker.at at gmail.com <nightwalker.at@
> gmail.com> wrote:
> From: Jan Lite <liteshoe at gmail.com>
>  Thanks, Ms. Worm, Research Librarian.
>  That was very helpful.
>  Allowed me to retrieve my favorite post ever.
>  ----------------------------------
>  And you think that it ends just like that, eh? HAH!
>  Come on, kid. Give over.
>  FrankenNoseyPoseyToadvine
> --
> "The Ordinary Adventurer"
> A new backpacking adventure book
> http://www.FunFreedom.com

"The Ordinary Adventurer"
A new backpacking adventure book
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