Finding Beauty Again (Merci Proust)

As I was reading Proust, the part when he is on a train on his way to a thermal station where he discovers during a halt a beautiful young farm girl. Just the sight of this beautiful woman gave him back the taste of Beauty, some kind of meaning in his life, I was about to experience first hand that experience a few hours after having read his words.

I was taking a break from playing a video-game, smoking on my balcony and watching peoples passing by. I love watching people. It’s sound creepy, maybe it is, but after staying for years, more than a decade in fact, in a little village with almost nobody walking by, (or if you saw someone, you’ll definitely know that person), after that dryness human experience of seeing little to nobody new, living in a city full of people that you don’t know and don’t know you is an exhilarating experience. It’s almost like you’re living again, reborn, back in society.

So, there I was, smoking my cigarette, observing life and society going about their life when I spot a beautiful woman. Not the first one that I’ve spotted, high up in my balcony, but after reading Proust, that sight was powerful and full of meaning.

There I was, experiencing what a man who died one century ago wrote about.

This is the magic of literature. Well, one of the many perks of reading a book.

That lady was walking her littler black dog, making me think of a Bob Dylan song, «A Hard Rain A-Gonna Fall» when he sings: I met white men who walked a black dog.

No, the simple sight of an attractive woman leads me to music. Life is strange, but art found a way to make it magic. Does art have a defined function? I don’t know, and I wish not, because it would put art in a shackle. We, human, have to categorize everything, it’s in our nature, everything has to be in a box.

Art isn’t in a box, well, it is in every box and a box itself.

And art was what I was seeing. I was looking at Beauty.

And that thought came out of my brain: go, talk to this lady, tell her something!

Hell no! Hell no! The time have changed, and for good, I think. We are living in a time where yelling at a lady passing by is not ok.

What if I was in the lady’s situation and someone I don’t know yell for me to give him or her my phone number? I would keep my head down and go away. We never know with people nowadays.

I kept watching her, I wasn’t hiding myself, it was already weird enough for me to look at her, if she ever rises her head toward me, I didn’t wanted to scare her.

And then, I started imagining her life. She was probably in her early twenty’s, probably a student, walking her family dog, taking a walk in the sun. Did she have a boyfriend? A girlfriend? How happy was she in her life? What was the cross she had to carry?

And then, she left, took a nearby street, disappearing from my eyes.

I rediscovered Beauty, at least for a little while.

Thanks to Marcel Proust, whenever I see Beauty, I feel grateful and alive. I’ve found an answer to a question I wasn’t asking myself before reading him.

Extract (in French) from Proust book; A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs :

«Était-ce parce que je ne l’avais qu’entr’apercue que je l’avais si belle ? Peut-être. D’abord, l’impossibilité de s’arrêter auprès d’une femme, le risque de ne pas la retrouver un autre jour lui donnent brusquement le même charme qu’à un pays la maladie ou la pauvreté qui nous empêchent de le visiter, ou qu’aux jours si ternes qui nous restaient à vivre, le combat où nous succomberons sans doute. De sorte que, s’il n’y avait pas l’habitude, la vie devrait paraître délicieuse à des êtres qui seraient à chaque heure menacés de mourir, – c’est-à-dire à tous les hommes. Puis, si l’imagination est entraînée par le désir de ce que nous pouvons posséder, son essor n’est pas limité par une réalité complètement perçue dans ces rencontres où les charmes de la passante sont en relation directe avec la rapidité du passage. Pour peu que la nuit tombe et que la voiture aille vite, à la campagne, dans une ville, il n’y a pas un torse féminin, mutilé comme un marbre antique par la vitesse qui nous entraîne et le crépuscule qui le noie, qui ne tire sur notre cœur, à chaque coin de route, du fond de chaque boutique, les flèches de la Beauté, de la Beauté dont on serait parfois tenté de se demander si elle est en ce monde autre chose que la partie de complément qu’ajoute à une passante fragmentaire et fugitive notre imagination surexcitée par le regret.»

Jaskiers

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Waiting For The Sun In L.A. (A Short Story)

FYI: I am not fluent in English, I’m trying to be at least. Sorry for the potentials mistakes. Feel free to correct me in the comment section.

Ophelia lived in a downtown L.A. Her dreams place to live in.

Since very young, she wanted to become something. Someone different than her mother and father. All the kids got dreams, and a lot of them wish to become a star, a singer, an actor. Being worshipped, being rich, living in a huge mansion. Then they grow up and reality strikes their little beliefs and put them back into reality.

For some, the dream still holds firmly in their mind. They don’t want to give up, not now, not while they are still young and have time to progress, learn and work for them. It often take an early calling, a long-time practice to become successful.

You also have to make connection, travel to the place where the important peoples lives and hang out.

That’s what Ophelia had planned. She could sing, dance and act. She was an attractive young, white girl, blonde hair and blue eyes. She had success in that little conservative town of her in Minnesota. She discovered at this small town how powerful the power of beauty is, especially on men.

She took advantage of few of them, but this was for a good cause. She would not forget them once at the top of Hollywood.

The young women borrowed money to pay for acting class, acting turned out to be more complicated and subtle that Ophelia first thought. She kept working hard, but never had the feeling of self-satisfaction. From her own perspective, her progress in acting wasn’t satisfying. She still had her look for herself, the thing that will gave her Hollywood on a plate. At least that what’s Ophelia believed. Hollywood was the sanctuary of body-worshipping wasn’t it ?

She took up singing class too. She was decent at it, her hope for fame raised even more. Why not become a pop star ? Their’s singers that aren’t that good but still make a career for themselves because they have the good the look and an attitude.

Continuing on her quest to find her real calling, Ophelia borrowed even more money for dancing lessons. She knew she would not become a dancer, and nobody really considered a dancer a star. It was just to better herself, give herself more tools to succeed.

She had boyfriends. More or less, she used them for money, and they used her for her body.

Once she gathered enough money to go conquer the West. Ophelia drove to Hollywood, ready to own the entertainment industry.

Her beauty gave her access to powerful men. Powerful men that gave her a flat in that downtown L.A. where she’s still living in as you reading this.

After false promises by those men, the young women decided to hunt for fame by herself. Going from casting to casting to never having a call back.

Until her good star intervened.

One day, some men in the street asked her for her contact information. He needed someone like her for his project.

Arriving in the studio of that mysterious artist (or businessman) the aspiring actress had to undress in front of the camera and have sex with him.

And she did. That’s how Hollywood worked right ? Nothing new in having sex in exchange for a part in a movie. Plus, she came out of there with a good amount of cash ! This was probably the start, finally, of her career !

Execpted that this sex session ended up on internet. Without her consent.

And the businessman contacted her again. The returns where insanely positive ! The public wanted more of her. More of her nakedness having sex in front of a camera.

She took the opportunity.

Ophelia became a star, a pornstar.

Her family cut ties with her, she was alone. Alone but making money. Not rich thought.

She was famous. Kind of.

Was she disappointed ? Yes.

Did she felt trapped ? Not really. Porn stars have become regular actresses and singers after finding stardom in the porn industry. She will use pornography as her springboard to stardom, the real one.

But people only saw in her the pornographic actress.

She was in fact trapped.

Ophelia still live, hoping for a miracle that will probably never happen. But she’s got hope and nobody can take this out from her. Not you, not even me.

Jaskiers