Monday, January 10, 2005

moleskine modality

Voltaire, ruminating about immortality, concluded:

To rise again - to be the same person that you were - you must have your memory perfectly fresh and present; for it is memory that makes your identity. If your memory is lost how will you be the same man? *
* Romances, p. 411

A spiritually invigorating chain of thought set in motion by the merest mention of a single word: Moleskine, read by chance on the web. This word had not passed through conscious thought for at least five years: or, was it ten? Memory is a fickle friend. Stored in my brain in the first place while reading a biography of a recently dead travel writer and novelist: a word which is now providing a rich seam. I will explain.

It is traditional amongst those wishing it to be known that they have read good books - or, at least, to attempt to create an impression they have done so - to invoke the mearest mention of a flake of a crumb of madeleine: why departed from this tradition without good cause?

Try Proust if madeleine doesn't do it.

I distinctly recall the feelings of fascination and irritation reading Nicholas Shakespeare's widely considered to be definitive biography of Bruce Chatwin: there I first learnt of the notebooks Chatwin and many other writers and artists set such great store by. From a minor interest it has become something much more. I will explain as much as possible.


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