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All from my cup of tea…

Welcome HOME! At my new blog, home is the primary theme. Many paths lead to and from the front door! Whether located in music, literature, poetry or other artistic works, or you pull them out of the streams of your own consciousness, insights about home are encouraged and welcomed. At this address, the door is always open, the tea kettle whistles and everyone has a seat! Enter. Put up your feet and join the conversation.

Why do I call these Petite Madelaine’s Crumbs?

In one of my many college “careers,” I attended Nicholls State University. One English teacher made the observation that I was an unlikely candidate for Medical Research, but perhaps might consider something in Liberal Arts like English, Writing or Communication. She was quite prescient! The day she read this passage from Marcel Proust was the first time I’d heard the adjective “Petite” applied to any variation of my name.
Now, admittedly, the novels of Marcel Proust are complex and challenging. Yet finding the persistence to read them informed me about his concept of “streams of consciousness” writing. Whether you’ve read Proust, consider yourself a writer or simply love French tea cakes, matters not one whit. Fishing in our personal streams of consciousness is how we retrieve our memories. Memories provide sustenance for introspection in solitude and sharing in conversation. Memories are planted by experience and nurtured by perception.
When Proust’s narrator describes his taste memory of a petite madeleine dipped in tea, we easily comprehend a “Proustian moment” because we’ve experienced many of our own.

No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin… this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me it was me….Whence did it come? What did it mean? How could I seize and apprehend it?… And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray…when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it. And all from my cup of tea.

— Marcel Proust, In Search of Lost Time

Home. Leaving home, remembering home, returning home, making a home, yearning for home — home is the place where sensory memories were first conceived.  We awoke to the smell of coffee, sun-dried bed linens or pungent wood fires. Our dreams were disturbed by cries of anger, sobs of anguish or whispered snippets of endearments. Barking dogs. Singing birds. Traffic’s cacophony. Whistling wind. Crumbs on the tongue. Images of sunlight and shadow pirouetting across floor mats and sleeping cats. Acceptance, curiosity and tension were felt; they possessed texture, like unexpected embraces or hair-on-end tingles. Do you recall the fable of the blind men and the elephant? Perceptions are very much like their discoveries. Whether trunk or tail or skin or foot, our perceptions are the results of different parts of our lives felt at different times, different places, in different ways.
Narrative. We recycle, reinterpret and renegotiate through stories. And what is a blog if not narrative?

2 comments

  • Felicia Hebert

    April 11, 2019 at 1:31 am

    Again, I am so lucky & so pleased to know you. To read & to dip tea with you. And laugh. The most important part. Bon voyage !!

    Reply

    • admin

      April 14, 2019 at 12:03 pm

      We are all blessed by the people the Universe puts in our paths. Laughing, crying, breaking bread, sharing stories…these are the most important thing. You are so right, mon ami!

      Reply

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