When I moved to Israel after high school, I’d write letters to my friends back in Amsterdam to report on my new life in the Promised Land. When Gil and I travelled in China and Tibet, I wrote a travelogues for friends and family. When, fifteen years ago, I first arrived (reluctantly) in Bloomington, Indiana, I started writing my chronicles to share my adventures in the New World with friends back home. The Chronicles evolved from hand-written newsletters that I photocopied to documents attached to emails, and I continued writing them as I went to Lhasa, to Tel Aviv, to Taiwan, and then back to America. But as life became overwhelmingly busy (two young kids, a job, MFA studies, Gil working towards tenure…), and I decided I needed to get “serious” about my writing and save my time and creative energy for “real” publications, I abandoned my letters and chronicles.
I now feel as if there’s a gap in my life. I’m getting things done, but I’m letting time slip away unaccounted.
What I loved about my letters and chronicles is that they gave me a double reality: my life as I experienced it and my life as material for my reports. I loved to imagine myself as an explorer who sends home accounts of her findings and adventures.
In the past few weeks I have been cleaning the house, rearranging my books, sorting the closets, responding to unanswered emails, fixing broken furniture, framing unframed pictures, and in general trying to catch up with everything I feel I've neglected. I’ve also started to reread Proust’s In Search Of Lost Time, which I started when I was seventeen and always intended to continue but put aside because life got busy and I just didn’t have the mental tranquility to immerse myself in a seven-part novel series about lost time.
But I feel I’m at a point that I want to slow down again and capture lost time. Rereading Proust brings me back to my younger self, who excelled at blissfully wasting hours, days, months and years on reading, dreaming, and writing. Back then, I really believed in the magic of written words, and I think it was Proust – even though I never found the time to read his whole opus – who convinced me that only time that has been recorded in writing is real.