The Beautiful Room is Empty

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I recently purchased a book off of Amazon.fr entitled The Beautiful Room is Empty written by the American author Edmund White. It’s quite an intellectual and interesting read. I read it last week whilst I was on vacation, and it helped pass my time and create nice little daydreams with the adventures of a young university student discovering new things about himself.

While I was reading I came across a very poignant excerpt, which I will outline below and discuss a little bit. There are a lot of scandalous quotations that could have been furnished but I decided to choose this one because it was the first one that really shocked me and made me put the book down for a second before continuing.

And we were off. She and I ascribed the most appalling motives to each other out of some seemingly scientific zeal but unlike a real scientific proposition, which can be verified or at least negated, ours submitted to no proof, since the very things being discussed were unconscious, hence unknowable. I say “things” because I hesitate to speak of them as feelings. An “unconscious feeling” strikes me as an impossibility; the one thing we know for sure is what we are feeling. At least now I believe that no one else can correct our feelings; they are pure, incorrigible.

The idea that feelings are pure and incorrigible is just something that creates a very interesting image in my mind. I’m just thinking whilst typing here, but I don’t agree with what White states. Other people can correct our feelings. Through persuasion and through showing different perspective I find that often my feelings or thoughts are changed and altered thanks to other people, sometimes for the good and sometimes the better. They are corrigible. Take for instances having a crush on someone that you don’t know very well. You admire them, you sometimes lust after them, you feel as though they are perfect and that they can do know wrong. Then suddenly you discover something about them that shocks you and that you find unattractive, and your image of them suddenly becomes blotched and different. You perceive them differently, and suddenly your feelings are changed, and corrected.

In addition, I do think this mention of unconscious feelings is quite a valid and interesting mention. He states that it’s impossible, but in fact it is. Take the example of being friends with someone, a very close friendship. You have fun together and children, and then grow up old and one day you realise that the entire time you’ve been in love with them. You’ve not thought of it directly before, nor given it a name or attributed it to anything else; you’ve simply enjoyed their company as friends, and suddenly you realise that during this entire time you’ve been feeling something that you hadn’t notice. It’s certainly something more possible, common, and probable especially for childhood friendships, since at the time you are just enjoying each others company, but as adults you suddenly yearn for more and feel a deeper connection that is no longer juvenile, and is much stronger.

I do believe that I will be reading through this book again and outlining some other excerpts that I find interesting. For those who I’ve sent e-mails to about me reading a ‘semi-pornographic’ novel, yes it’s true that this is the one, and it’s actually a lot deeper than I had thought at first read. I’m discovering new levels, new messages, more meaning than there was before. It shows the superficialities, realities, and struggles of being a teenager. The only unfortunate thing is that it’s totally a different generation than I, and thus I can only relate to certain aspects of it and not others. It’s much more personal, and not as impersonal, as most things these days are.

After all, this blog is quite impersonal, don’t you think? 🙂 Take the posted image in this entry for example. You wouldn’t know it, but it’s a photo of me, alone in my empty room. How fitting, ja?

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