About face, about books

Monday 25 February 2008

Today, I rather fancifully imagined myself as someone quite erudite and intellectual, having found a copy of Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past (Volume 1) in a local charity shop. I have attempted to read some of Proust’s great work before, having downloaded an Ebook from Project Gutenberg. In the extracts I read back then I found the lyricism contained in his references to personal reflection and memory, and the multi-sensory capacity of his words to paint scenarios of people, times and locations past quite mind-blowingly vivid and not all difficult to follow (with some thanks to the translators).

However, this was and is the mother of all novels and attempting to read any part of it as an Ebook was an ill-thought out and futile task. I hope this time to stay the literary distance and not give up after the first chapter; I feel I need a diversion of the complexity afforded by Proust, and I am intrigued by the concept of involuntary memory (the mundane, everyday triggers that take us back to another time, place), but it may be a step too far, and too soon – I need to firstly purge myself of all the small, inconsequential things currently distracting me…

I have a small truth to reveal – I have been seduced by the networking phenomenon that is facebook. Encouraged, or was it gently persuaded, by some work colleagues I tentatively signed up; it will be great way to display your artwork and meet other artists said one real friend. A couple of months in the facebook jungle and it seems scarily populated by attention-seekers and have-to-post wall junkies, with lists of applications and friends so long, you can’t help but wonder how they manage to write up their Christmas card shortlist, or find the time within their online schedule to do simple things like walking the dog or eating breakfast.

I am humouring here, but there does seem to be a strategy or modus operandi to this new world order, taking a peek at other friend’s lists, do some judicious poking, a message sent here or there, and voila! shiny, new virtual acquaintances are made (I am guilty of this too), making your friends’ list swell at a rate unheard of in real life social circles. I hardly need engage in the thorny topic of add-on applications, the irritating prickles in facebook’s blooming rose. In short facebook fatigue has finally set in.

I am at the point of withdrawing my membership after failing quite abysmally in my search for old student day friends (I found solace in playing scrabulous instead!) – except that (much like the Eagle’s Hotel California) you can never truly leave facebook, you can only deactivate your account. I contemplated joining an existing art group, but which one, there were simply hundreds to choose from? One solution is to set up a new group (read here, support group), to exchange artist information, discuss creative ideas, display new artwork, on the themes of sublime decay, artistic decay, or maybe the poetics of decay. Come gather, soon-to-be artist-friends, the facebook revolution will not be artistically compromised…