Earthly Existence

“Perhaps my sense of reality is not very highly developed, perhaps I lack a sound and reassuring instinct for the solid facts of our earthly existence; I can’t always tell memories from dreams, and often mistake dreams, coming to life again in colours, smells, sudden associations, with the eerie secret certainty of a past life from which time and space divide me no differently and not better than a light sleep in the early hours.”

Annemarie Schwarzenbach, All the Roads Are Open. (trans. Isabel Fargo Cole)

2 thoughts on “Earthly Existence

  1. This is true of experiences in art, also. Passing through the South of France last year I could find no difference in emotional texture or timbre between memories of childhood holidays there, and the scene of the young couple riding down to the beach each day in The Garden of Eden, and Dick Diver with his failed water-ski stunt out in the bay, and fragments of Braque or Cézanne’s views from L’Estaque: each seemed as real as the next, and each quite thoroughly my own.

    • I take the view that the psychological movement we make when deeply engaging with a work of art is undifferentiated internally from the memories formed by personal experience, and over time what is left is atmospheres and textures.

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