The empty frame of tomorrow – Proust on procrastination


It’s cheering to know Proust had this problem too….If I had not been so determined to set seriously to work, I might have made an effort to start at once. But given that my resolve was unbreakable, given that within  twenty-four hours,  inside the empty frame of tomorrow where everything fitted so perfectly because it was not today, my best intentions would easily take material shape, it was really preferable not to think of beginning things on an evening when I was not quite ready – and of course the following days were no better suited to beginning things. However, I was a reasonable person. When one has waited for years, it would be chlldish not to tolerate a delay of a couple of days…. Unfortunately, tomorrow turned out not to be that bright, outward-looking day that I had feverishly looked forward to. When it ended, my idleness and hard struggle against my inner obstacles had just lasted for another twenty-four hours.


Proust  In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower (Allen Lane, 2002, tr. James Grieve) p. 155-6.

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