What separates the average man from a great writer?

The average man says, “It was the rain.”

A great writer—like Marcel Proust—says the following…

“A little tap at the window, as though some missile had struck it, followed by a plentiful, falling sound, as light, though, as if a shower of sand were being sprinkled from a window overhead; then the fall spread, took on an order, a rhythm, became liquid, loud, drumming, musical, innumerable, universal. It was the rain

Such beauty. When I first read that excerpt, it burned itself into my memory. I saw the work of a master, a genius that was honing a craft. A wordsmith at the wheel of creativity: Marcel Proust.

My English teacher in college, when reading the line, stated the following: “That’s the kind of line that gets you an ‘A’ in a Creative Writing class.”

We all chuckled. So true…

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4 thoughts on “A Remembrance of Marcel Proust

  1. On the other hand you could argue “why use 60 words when 4 will do!” I find myself often conflicted like this probably caused by the fact that my first major education was up to PhD in Chemistry followed later in life with degrees in psychology. The latter included some philosophy but mostly related to “mind” such as Descartes, but also a quite different writing style was needed for assignments, verbose as opposed to the precise and pithy writing of science. I recently read Alain de Boton’s book How Proust Can Change Your Life, but still trying to work out how that could happen based on the writings of a man who spent most of his life under a woollen blanket in his bedroom.

  2. “I recently read Alain de Boton’s book How Proust Can Change Your Life, but still trying to work out how that could happen based on the writings of a man who spent most of his life under a woollen blanket in his bedroom.”

    Good point. Sometimes it difficult to rectify the ideas of a man from his life. I recently read Nietzsche’s “Twilight of the Idols” and was very impressed. Then I found out that he was basically a loner for the majority of his life, unmarried and without children. How do you use that type of man as a guide if you yourself have a family, which brings with it a whole new set of challenges?

  3. Here is a piece of writing that you might like to read: it is from the short story “The Dead” from a collection of short stories entitled DUBLINERS by James Joyce:

    “A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”

    Here is the only short story that I had published by a print magazine:

    https://hitchhikeamerica.wordpress.com/2012/11/11/high-plains-drifter-short-story/

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