Reading page after page in Proust's The Fugitive on remembering and forgetting made me recall this passage from William Faulkner, which has lurked in my mind since I first read it in college. It's from a conversation with students at the University of Virginia, March 13, 1957:
[M]aybe peace is only a condition in retrospect, when the subconscious has got rid of the gnats and the tacks and the broken glass of experience and has left only the peaceful pleasant things — that was peace. Maybe peace is not is, but was.
William Faulkner, Faulkner in the University, ed. Frederick L. Gwynn and Joseph L. Blotner (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1995), 67