Saturday, June 30, 2007

collecting, accuracy, sentiment

When I was a child I collected postage stamps. After giving up, I did not again consciously collect anything. Until fairly recently, that is. I have come to realise that for the last two years, since I started this blog, I have, every day, been collecting and seriously looking for the sort of things that go into it - things that give pleasure, amuse, make you think. To look out for them every day seems to me to be better than collecting stamps, or collecting anything else for that matter.

Watching Roger Federer on TV for a few minutes yesterday evening, I realize that powerful serves and drives in tennis are nothing without elegance and accuracy. Elegance and swiftness in footwork and balance, accuracy in postioning the ball where you want it and your opponent doesn't- at the baseline, just over the net, in the corner of the service box. A backhand drive whizzing low over the net down the tramlines is thing of beauty and a joy for ever.

I woke to day thinking, I don't know why, about sentimentality. "I don't like sentimentality," said a friend of mine recently. Neither do I, I said. And no more do I now. But somehow the subject drifted away. I didn't say what had been on the point of saying, an esprit de l'escalier. This morning, I say it to myself: Sentiment is another matter. Sentimentality distorts the truth; sentiment reinforces it.


Lucy said...

Clever you to remember the point you wanted to make in a conversation gone past like that. Do you think this kind of writing, collecting and keeping things for it, sharpens up your ability to hold on to moments in that way?

Unknown said...

I hadn't thought about it like that. But I do think that A La Recherche du Temps Perdu is probably the greatest novel ever written. Something like that was, the basis of Proust's work and what drove it magnificently forward. He dragged the past into the present and made it a permanent feature.