In Within a Budding Grove (À l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs), the second volume of Marcel Proust’s novel, In Search of Lost Time, the young narrator describes his disillusionment with New Years Day and the moment he discovers that “New Years Day was not a day different from the rest… it’s not the first day of a new world.”
Here Proust’s narrator begins to see that time passes indifferently. The future does not magically open up on New Years Day; there is no break in the calendar. There is only the unheeding fluidity of the old days and years that, unknown to the Years themselves, we choose to invest with a different name each January in our attempt to shape and modify them to suit us. Proust writes:
“I returned home. I had just spent the New Year’s Day of old men, who differ on that day from their juniors, not because people have ceased to give them presents but because they themselves have ceased to believe in the New Year.”
For Proust, loss in the belief in New Years is a loss of hope.
So, as the year come to a close (a random demarcation in the fluidity of days or not) the Gay Groom is spending some time looking back over the past 364.25 days and pondering his successes and (shall we say) non-successes of 2014.
There were many grand moments.
My novel, Shirts and Skins, continues to do well. I did a number of readings and signings which went quite well. I also met a lot of great people who connected with the novel (including a naked book club that asked me attend). I also made great strides with my second novel I hope to have complete in the spring and (hopefully) be out sometime in 2015. I was also thrilled to have been asked to be a guest on Hamilton Life TV-show to discuss my novel in Hamilton, which was a lot of fun and was top of the list of a CBC article on books set in Hamilton. Shirts and Skins was also voted one of the “Hottest Reads” for the summer. As far as travel went this year, I went on yet another cruise in February to see the Caribbean again. and went back to Europe to see Madrid and (for the first time) the incredibly gay Gran Canaria (here are videos plus photos (warning – bare asses). I also launched my website jeffreyluscombe.com. and my YouTube channel (where you can finally see if I lisp or not!). One of the most exciting things to happen this year was being asked to speak to a high school GSA in my old hometown of Hamilton. And of course there was WorldPride in Toronto this year (more bare asses). And let us not forget the incredible World Pride Rainbow. I also did more freelance work for some magazines. Including pieces diverse as LGBT rights in Uganda, LGBT Rights around the world to travel articles on Palm Springs and what guys were reading on my Atlantis gay cruise.
And there were less than grand moments.
First and foremost was, of course, losing my father in November. But I did have the support of many of you for which I want to thank you all for again. Any other trials and tribulations seem unimportant in comparison.
“But”, Proust may have asked if he were to drop by this New Years Eve, “does the Gay Groom still believe in New Years? Or will he have the New Years of old men.”
“Well, Marcel,” I’d say as I handed him a cognac, “believe isn’t quite the right word. Instead, I choose to accept the contrived and artificial demarcation of New Years. Let’s call it a ‘New Years of mature men'”.
I choose to accept New Years because I hope.
And aren’t all those fresh pages in my new red 2015 journal (which one day will prove to be a most scandalous memoir) 364 pages of lined hope?
At the end of Proust’s enormous novel, when his narrator (after squandering year after year of his life and writing potential on frivolous society parties and obsessive love) suddenly discovers that death is imminent, is overcome with the need to write. In writing, the narrator regains time by folding time – and himself – into the pages of the book.
And on that note, your humble blogger signs off for the year.
The story continues…
Happy New Year!
Jeffrey, The Gay Groom