Write Part of My Memoir In November, Day 18: My Dog & Marcel Proust

MadeleinesWelcome to Day 18 of my memoir writing challenge and a temporary picture change. Greta Garbo will return tomorrow.

I blogged yesterday about using logic to invoke memories, and earlier about relying on Google and social media to get my facts and sequences straight.  But I ignored sense memories as a trigger.  This is odd, because I often write about food, a subject that deploys all of the senses. What would Marcel Proust say about the absence of a madeleine equivalent — maybe knishes; we’re talking a Brooklyn childhood — as an entryway to the past?

And just as I was typing this last sentence it struck me: The spelling of my dog’s name. I’ve often wondered what inspired me to add an “e” to “Madeline,” which is how Ms. M’s name appeared on the intake form from the Southern Arizona Humane Society. Madeleine L’Engle wasn’t an inspiration; I never read Wrinkle in Time or any of its sequels. That little French girl who’s always in and out of line? Nope. She is Madeline, sans second “e.”

Only now, more than a year after I adopted her, does it come to me: I must have seen Madeleine as a French cookie, sweet enough to eat (though often méchante). The unconscious works in mysterious ways, and mine is often food oriented. The next time I want to recover a New York  memory, I might have to go looking for cold sesame noodles.

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About the Author

Edie Jarolim is a writer and editor living in Tucson, Arizona. Sign up on this blog to get updates about her humorous tell-all/memoir, GETTING NAKED FOR MONEY: An Accidental Travel Writer Reveals All.

4 Enlightened Replies

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  1. Surprised I didn’t ask you….I always wondered why you named your dog after a pastry instead of with a human name.

    • Edie says:

      Ha! I thought it *was* a human name! The only person who inquired about the spelling wanted to know if it was like the writer, L’Engle, and I said yes — because I didn’t know. I just thought that was how the human name was spelled.

  2. Pamela says:

    Madeleine looks sweet enough to eat. It makes perfect sense. 🙂

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