I wish I can say I read it in its original Varese French writing language, but I did not. I was not fluent enough for old French. I went for the just-as-cryptic Julien Gracq translation. It was so hard to understand.
But it was beautiful, disturbing, and lyrical for a work of prose. I have never read anything quite like it.
I don’t know if it made me more depressed or if it has actually affected my mood. But the ending had me flinching publicly in spite of myself (I was plying EDSA via an airtight bus on a rush hour when I read the final two chapters).I had a constricted chest til now, more than an hour after I read the ending and rode that bus.
Reading this book proved two things for me: 1) it is perfectly possible to appreciate something even when you don’t understand them. 2) Some writers have that confusing/unexplainable but extremely affecting effect.
It’s like getting hit by a train without actually seeing the tracks or the rail vehicle coming until you are made to deal with the consequences or what comes after. That’s how reading this novel felt for me, at least. And I can’t even explain why it felt that way. All I know is that it opened a lot of raw emotions I’d rather sweep under the rug.
Interestingly, the French author (Louis Varese) refused to accept a French literary award during his time even when his contemporaries and other literary fanatics of his age were deeply affected by his dark prose. He must have been ancient French Gossip Girl’s Serena van der Woodsen.
I thought about that during the bus ride. And bus rides have always provided me with moments of epiphany amidst the heavy traffic. I realized that the really genius writers, or genius-in-any-field workers, would not mind taking a backseat. They just shine but it’s as if they resent shining out of fear of eclipsing the legacy behind the work of their hands. For them, it’s not for awards or gaining esteem. It’s just done for the love of the art itself, not for accolades or whatnots.
Over the years, I managed to become more attached to social media, building an online presence, and going places like everyone else in the twenty-something world. I pursued that angle so much that sadly, I lost focus of the things I used to have a singular laser-beam focus on. Things like the writing dream I’ve had since I was writing on my diary in fourth grade.
Ironically, I have more things to blog about now than when I was a struggling college student but I no longer have the time to do it. What the hell just happened to the girl who treats writing as oxygen? I may have been there to help other people in their issues and dreams. Sadly, it was at the expense of my own dreams.
I owe it to myself to be a little extra “selfish” at this phase to find myself back and get her on track.
So today, I swear on my personal blog that although I am not as good as Chateau d’Argol’s author, I am going to give a huge chunk of my time back to writing again. Writing what’s in my heart to weave words about, not just writing for financial support (which I had succumbed to for years).
Hopefully, I don’t end up like a uniformly eerie patch of just-another-green in the chateau of the literary world. I hope I can actually write something epic, something bigger than the social nobody I am, the nobody I am about to become as I immerse myself again in my first love.