Doing a ‘Proust.’

new cover 1704 front big Book cover 18april

I can’t say I was ever spell-bound reading the works of Marcel Proust. This has more to do with my own preferences or lack of them, than Proust. Perhaps I should have another go at coming to grips with his words. One of the disadvantages of not having had the benefits of a university education which perhaps stilted or delayed my literary knowledge. Who knows? It did not stifle my curiosity.

André Gide was another one of those philosophical writers I read and struggled with. He featured during Proust’s time and was highly regarded by him. If there is a writer that I keenly read at earlier times it is Albert Camus. I could not get enough of his books and the magic of his writing still lives on in my mind. What a pity he died riding a motorbike.

Apparently, Proust’s voluminous works were avoided by most during his life, and he is now known for having written his own critiques. The worlds most prestigious Newspapers were full of his own written lofty praise. He shamelessly wrote them and paid the Newspapers handsomely for their troubles. The publishers avoided his work as unintelligible babble but this too was overcome by Proust by paying for the publishing the books himself. He came from a wealthy family but was plagued by asthma and lung problems right from birth which killed him still comparatively young at fifty one years of age.

We are fortunate that Proust had the money to pay and get at least good self-written reviews and self publish his work. I believe his brother after his death also helped to get his large volume of work published. He sure had the mettle to keep going even with the state of precarious health and times of hospitalisation.

Of course, and I don’t even pretend to stand within cooee of Proust’s literary calibre,  but at least my own adventures in self publication and self promotion of my two books, do in a rather modest way, copy that of Proust. It was the main reason what attracted me to this article by the Guardian which was pointed out by a tweet from Roderick Hart.

It is now more the norm than not, to self-publish and at no time have there been so many writers getting to see their work in print. However, to get the books sold and on bookshelves is another matter. One has to enjoy writing as the main and perhaps only reason and hope that somehow the work will stand the test of time. If not, no sour grapes and somewhat futile to worry about. With one’s birth comes a guarantee of mortality. In between that, it is just marvellous to be able to enjoy putting things down either in words or by painting, sculpting or whatever else that gives vent to creativity.

I was overjoyed by the state of NSW Library and also the Federal Library in Canberra requesting my books to be included in their vast arsenal of literature. Who could have hoped for that to happen? It will be there permanently after I have gone. How good is that?

In the future I imagine someone with perhaps the same habit I had many years ago by running my hand over the rows of books resting on the shelves at Sydney library. I always picked the dustiest book. They were always books worthy of reading. I loved that habit.  Could my books end up with someone doing the same and get picked by a reader? It could happen, just imagine.

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17 Responses to “Doing a ‘Proust.’”

  1. Julia Lund Says:

    You are so right – creativity must first and foremost be for self-fulfilment rather than the pursuit of wealth, fame or praise. I have been thinking the very same today as I edit my latest novel and plan to dust off my neglected easel and dusty canvasses.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Julia. The ‘doing’ is always the preferred way to go with inventiveness preceding the result.
      Glad you are going ahead with your creative pursuits. It can give great satisfaction.


  2. shoreacres Says:

    I’ve always enjoyed the section about the madeleine from Remembrance Of Things Past, but otherwise Proust was a bit much for me. However, I did pick up Alain de Botton’s How Proust Can Change Your Life, and found it a mostly delightful read. It was Proust in digestable pieces, with de Botton’s sly commentary as an added treat.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Amazing, but Alain de Botton’s Proust book is also on our shelves together with another great Botton read, ‘The consolations of Philosophy.’
      I am working towards both my eyes getting cataract treatments. Hopefully the sight will improve.


  3. What leads to Writing about my Experiences? | auntyuta Says:

    […] […]

    Liked by 1 person

  4. auntyuta Says:

    In this post, that I just published, I refer to your blog about Marcel Proust. I hope, Gerard, that you do not mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Curt Mekemson Says:

    I think I’ll leave Proust to others, Girard! As for judging a book by the amount of dust it gathers, hmmm. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  6. vivienne29 Says:

    Congratulations. A wise move by the Libraries. I think it might also have to do with your contribution to the migrants’ experiences. History from the source itself – unique and reliable.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thanks, Viv,

      Libraries generally request all published material identified with an ISBN number to be lodged with them. Even so, I was grateful to get that request. Every crumb of recognition is welcome.
      Somewhere my books are resting on a shelf somewhere, or even being read.


  7. vivienne29 Says:

    A thought – the dusty books are healthier than the well thumbed ones.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, modern medicine tells us that obsessing about germs does not make for better health. In fact country kids who are in regular contact with animals are less likely to develop asthma etc.
      All that wiping and disinfect is not healthy. Give kids dirty books, I say. 😉


  8. Forestwoodfolk Says:

    Your books will have value in the quarters that most appreciate then, Gerard. That has already started. How wonderful! Congratulations.


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