“Nostalgia is not what it used to be”
This is the title of Simone Signoret’s autobiography. I’ve never read it. But, I’ve always liked the title. It came to mind today as I was thinking about the books I had donated to the library and how happy I am to be getting rid of momentos and recurring images from my mind.
I had a book about Marcel Proust’s gardens sitting above my head for months. I bought it in Paris in January in a bookstore called “Le temps retrouve” (Refound past). No wonder I’ve had recurring images of the 5th district of Paris in my head for months. Yes, my romantic journey ended on a sour note, but that was in January. We’re in June. And Proust no less. This is the man who wrote about gastronomic nostalgia. And he’s been hovering above my head for months. As beautiful as the book was, I had to give it away. I read a little and realized that it was best in the library to be circulated to other francophones.
Other France related books also went into my backpack to be donated today. I also found a few other books given to me by certain Frenchmen I visited in Paris in October and January. The memories of those two trips still haunt me. The book about Monet’s garden in Giverny that I received as a gift from my host who took me to see the beloved garden also went to be donated.
Some people are unable to part with books, thinking that the books hold such an emotional weight that they can’t see them go. In my case, it’s precisely for the emotional weight that these books carried that I had to let others in Cupertino have the joy of reading them.
I am not interested in maintaining the nostalgia of Paris that’s been in my head. My nostalgia is no longer what it was before.
I am free!