Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Proust's Goddamn Madeleine

My professional niche mean that I encounter the story of Proust and his madeleine often, or maybe I've just become oversensitized to Proust and his madeleine, so whenever a reference pops up I notice it.  In Proust's telling, he bites into a madeleine as an adult and it leads to an overwhelming sense memory of childhood, a memory mostly of feelings rather than words.  After reading a bunch of references, I actually went to the library and read some Proust, which I did not enjoy.  I suspect most of those people who reference Proust and his madeleine haven't read Proust, and wouldn't like him if they did.

Nevertheless, the senses do provoke amazing memories.  For me, the smell of sauteing onions and garlic combined with the sound of a vinyl record popping and hissing brings me straight back to childhood, sitting in the living room in front of the stereo while my dad cooked dinner.  A certain smell of damp woods in summer brings me back to summer camp and I can almost feel my bare feet running along dirt paths.  I can't even remember what old school phones sounded like, but I'm sure the sound would bring me back to my childhood kitchen standing in front of our one yellow rotary phone.

I wonder what will trigger LB's memories?


  1. I'm always offering my daughter flowers to smell and I especially picked lilac bushes to plant in the yard this year because of their fragrance. I admit, every time I bring her to a flower, I'm hoping that this is one of those happy memories she'll get to cherish the rest of her life.

  2. Yeah, I hope LB will have good memories of the salty ocean air, like I do.