Proust, Picasso, and Prose Poetry: Swann’s Way as an Emptying of Impressions

“The thing that I want to insist upon is that Picasso’s gift is completely the gift of a painter and a draughtsman, he is a man who always has the need of emptying himself, of completely emptying himself, it is necessary that he should be greatly stimulated so that he could be active enough to empty himself completely.”

So says Gertrude Stein in her intimate, lyrical biography of Picasso, which is not so much a chronology of his life as it is a love letter to his artistry. Among many other things, she submits that Picasso’s creative impetus derived from a need to empty himself of certain reverberating impressions; he would become captivated, even tormented by an idea or image, and by painting, he would purge that image from his mind and be done with it.

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Wet Hot American Nostalgia: First Day of Camp

Rewatching Wet Hot American Summer recently with JD (who had never seen it), I was transported back to my freshman year of college. I had just recently discovered the power of the cult hit: doodled Donnie Darko references littered every page of notes I took in class, my nickname was “Jack’s Colon” à la Fight Club, a Napoleon Dynamite poster shared space on my dorm room wall with the fire exit and a low-sloping roof. But Wet Hot American Summer was the movie I proselytized to my friends, trying to seem as cool as the movie was: funny in a totally different, surprising way, messing with timelines, with expectations, with even the most faux-liberated college kid’s sense of decency (is that… Molly Ringwald… falling in love with an eleven-year-old?)

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