#WritersWednesday: Blank Page, a reflection on Gustave #Flaubert

Albert CamusI read that Gustave Flaubert thought the “Communeux” – the revolutionaries who fought the losing battle of the Paris Commune in 1871, and got massacred – had wanted to “return to the Middle Ages”. Yet he was a discerning writer and observer of the French society…

This prompted some musing on the role of writers in our troubled times. But then, when was a time of real peace? The page stays blank, for if there is a lot to say, it would be pointless to write. This is what Flaubert avoided: he scored on impersonality, a detachment from associating himself with his characters, let alone exercising judgement on their actions or circumstances. He wrote that he was bored when writing Madame Bovary, so remote was he from his “ordinary” subject. His carthagenese rump – Salammbo – a story of a slave revolt against the ruler of Carthage (the super-power of the time), was high in colour, rich in gore, and outraged the bourgeois commentators of the mainstream press. Later his “Education Sentimentale” stripped the hypocrisy of the 2nd Empire’s society bare, all a few years before the catastrophe of 1870.

Maybe it takes a national defeat to reveal the true nature of contemporary literature: Remarque, Proust (who thought Germany’d have won the war), the French existentialists, the great Japanese novelists of the 50’s…

Image: Albert Camus laughing, from “Philosophers’ quotes & photos

Daily Prompt: Idyllic

What does your ideal community look like? How is it organized, and how is community life structured? What values does the community share?

Resistance, Norway What binds us is our love of life and aspiration for peace.  We are old and young, genders are equally represented: we hold councils – one member for twenty “residents” – every month, with a general assembly held every six months.  We have a small unarmed police force that reports to the council, it is there to protect the children and our older residents, if anyone threatens them.  We are tolerant of every creed and faith, of every sexual persuasion, providing children and vulnerable people are not put at risk.

This is a virtual community, although we are gradually buying some land for leisure activities and retreat.  The community is funded by its members, the residents, who contribute according to their means.   We value individuals’s right to privacy, to respect and equal status.  We have sworn to help those of us who need help because of poor health, age, or just bad luck.  We believe in the sanctity of the human body, and the eternity of the soul, and respect all religions.  Some of our members are wealthy, others are poor: we are all equal.

We do not bear arms, and several of us are veterans from recent or older wars.  We admire the Cathars, the Paris Commune and Spartacus. Our favourite novel is Stephen King’s The Stand.