A few years ago I began the Proustku project, living in the blog Haiku of Lost Time. I have revisited it on occasion but really want to spend some more time on this and so I will be using my three creative hours some weeks to make some progress.
The foundations of the project are outlined in three posts (1, 2, 3) but here is the idea in summary.
I wanted a project to force an active reading of Proust, because it is too easy to just flow through. So in parallel with reading it (or just a little behind) I am writing something per page, to engage myself with the text more closely, to savor the words, the images, and to distill something of the essence, and to provide a counterpoint to the loquacity of the text.
The form I chose has the vague appearance of haiku, but is clearly nothing of the sort. Instead it is a hybrid of form and intent, of purpose and mode, forcing brevity to carry the weight of verbosity. It is a form with only one purpose–this project–and it is called the Proustku.
So for each page of the Enright revision of the Scott Moncrief and Kilmartin translation in the Modern Library Classics edition, I am writing a three-line piece, to capture something of the essence of each page. This will take years to complete, if I make it through, but why not start and see what happens? The benefit is in the doing, but I hope that there is something to get out of the reading. Going back to read over the 67 pieces I wrote in two batches three and then two years ago, I am surprised at how much of the novel these short pieces still evoke. If nothing else, this process is burning Proust in my brain!
I’ll probably write these pieces in batches but let them drip out over time, probably one per day. So visit Haiku of Lost Time to view a distilled Proust, reconstituted in a tisane made to soften a madeleine, and evoke a period of reading In Search of Lost Time.