An Involuntary Memory

Sometimes, I forget to appreciate beauty in the subtle details of life. The other day, I was reminded of a conversation I once had about beauty, and the way it rears its head in the most unexpected ways.

I sat across the table from an aged man, his face resembled that of a heavier Charlie Rose but with oversized reading glasses. A cloth napkin splayed over his protruding belly which kept him at an arms length from his diner plate. With his fork and knife he carved through the sinewy fibers of his prime rib and pontificated with maudlin verbose the beauty of a brilliantly performed opera and the concept of Proust and his Madeline’s. Like a poorly cast femme fatale I smiled, and nodded with a look of agreement, as if I knew who and what he spoke about.

William Friedkin or Billy as most people called him was a prolific director in his day. I’ll spare you the details of just how it came to be that I sat across from him that night. He’s significant only for the fact that I remember our conversation in detail and how that night I set out to research what his fancy French novelist and pop cultural references meant.

For Proust the action of soaking his cookie into a hot cup of tea led to a four thousand page book. From this he coined the term involuntary memory, the experience that leads to a memory that leads to another memory and so on. This phenomenon is a surge of inspiration that tickles a person on the cellular level, initiated by routine activities in a person’s life. It’s a part of the human condition and lucky for us, it’s not exclusive to Hollywood directors or Novelists—everyone has their own unique triggers.

For example, the curve of a strangers eyebrow that reminds you of a loved one, or the smell of fresh laundry on a summers day. We encounter cues in our daily lives that evoke inspiration. Lately, I’ve failed to take those cues either because of complacency, distractions or an inexcusable laziness. This post I realize is a reminder to myself that some of the most beautiful things in life rest in the ordinary aspects of our daily lives.

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Melanie Brown

Melanie Brown

Melanie does not claim to be a writer, but she does have a lot of stories to tell. She loves the idea of a platform where she can share them. Melanie grew up in the Tri-Cities and then moved away for a really long time. She’s a Filmmaker, Producer, and honey bee enthusiast.

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