Around 20 years ago, I went to the Carnavalet Museum in Paris to see Marcel Proust’s bed. The mission was less frivolous than it sounds. Proust’s bed isn’t any old bed. He didn’t just sleep in it. He wrote millions of words while lying in it. It was his office, his workstation.
In 1909, at the age of 38, he hit the sack more or less permanently to write the great novel he’d always believed was in him. He lined the walls of his Paris apartment with cork to keep out the street noise. He wrote by night and slept by day. The novel would be called A la recherche du temps perdu: In Search of Lost Time. It took him 13 years to complete. The finished work ran to 3000 pages, or 1.25 million words ... [read more]