(say/don’t say), and other ESLesque things

The French are always obsessed with words, finding “the right way” to say something. All my life I heard about spurts of fear in France, about how English was parasitizing a supposed “purity of French”. Most of people don’t worry that much, though.

People have common sense, and we smile when some “rules” tried to make us say “courriel” instead of email, or “baladeur” (could be “stroller”) instead of walkman. The French Academy has a web page about it, “dire/ne pas dire” (say/don’t say) :


When I began to talk with Americans I was constantly sorry because I knew I was on a slippery ground with “the correct word”, and I have always been surprised by the way sweet people answered to me that it was OK, that they were understanding me, and I was told that American English was constantly swallowing and inventing new words. People are constantly coming to the USA, from the whole planet, with their mistakes, their accents, their words, their willing.

Learning a language has a reversible quality : it makes you think about your own language, your tongue (in French, the word langue means tongue and also language).

It’s better : it brings back some taste to your own language. For example with idioms :


And when there’s two words in English for one in French (coupable in French means guilty, but also culprit). Words’ sense don’t plug to each other well, they are charged in radioactivity. The last example I found is the French “Romanesque“.

At first, it means “novelistic” or “fictional”, but it also means “romantic”, it’s charged with events, chivalry, romance, life like in a movie, and a smile. All this in one!

Writing this blog in English is a constant source of fun, just for this reason (among others).

Thanks for reading!

Have a formidable day





Roses for a day

All roses are open to the elements. They bud, bloom and fade. The rose grows entirely unaware, changing naturally from one state to another, and although the elements may treat her cruelly, she knows nothing of it and continues to her end without judgment on her beauty. Alas, it is not the same for us. If such a rose could speak, she would say: “Yes, I am here, and gave service under nature’s eye. And after me my children will be. Is there any greater contribution or more graceful end? The protection that the gardener can afford this rose from the harsh elements of change is patience, care and a little warmth from the sun”.

A Little Chaos



Charles Sheeler, a precisionist American painter


Never heard about Precisionism until I found C. Sheeler on Pinterest.

Precisionism celebrated the new American landscape of skyscrapers, bridges, and factories in a form that has also been called “Cubist-Realism.”

I love this work! Transparency, flatness, games of light, geometry. I also love that there’s nobody in his paintings…

Have a nice sunday!


Not “Evil vs Good”, but “Chaos vs Order”

Many mainstream movies have this pattern : “Evil vs Good”, and a good villain is funny, right?

Today I’ll play a cross-game with another pattern : “Chaos vs Order”.

It can be similar : “Evil brings Chaos, and Good brings back Order”.

But of course you’re like me, sensing, that the contrary is true, and probably more interesting…

Evil = Order, like the First Order in Star Wars, and the perfectly aligned Nazis army.

Order means “every rule obeyed”, and that’s a bit 1984…

Yesterday I watched “A little Chaos“, a charming little film (directed by Alan Rickman!) : chaos brought by an inventing gardener hired by Le Nôtre – while Louis XIV was building Versailles, in France.


“Something uniquely French”? Order, but with a little chaos, or a casualness, maybe a slice of disobedience (to the rules), effortless elegance, imperfections embrace. Yeah, that’s the Parisian Elegance…


Well, I have this in mind since I saw “perfect gardens” – my brain was craving for fantasy! There’s a wiki for https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_garden_types –


Well, is it an article? Beginning with cinema, then France, then gardening? In what other fields of the human activities do we have to find our own frontier, balance, between chaos and order? In rocket science, 100% order, right? Art of Battle : 80%? What is discipline? What and where is invention? Can we have both at the same time? Differences of nature, quantity, places?

Have a nice day!



What does the photographer do in sterile new neighborhood?

What does the photographer do in sterile new neighborhood?

One question the thinker asks is : “Why do you live here?”. Do you live in a quiet old village, or in a quiet new clean street? Left, or right?

Out of the obvious :

  1. On the left, you’d better like your neighbors – and where do you park your fucking car?
  2. On the right, how do you breathe, where’s beauty, where’s life? What would you add (pot of flowers, old things?) not to die in a few days?

Well, it’s too easy, right?

Therefore the entry for my article is the photographer. What do I do? It’s all concrete, straight lines, everything’s smooth!

Hmmm. I could look for cracks, mistakes and flaws, that’s funny, like a revenge of the world. So there! Places like these are like tanned fashion models : entirely boring. And you’re relieved when you notice a flaw : a bit too thick calf, a little scar…

Well, OK. I could try to find line harmonies, colors and clouds, find the “mood of the place”, but I’m not Stephen Shore, sadly :

Another possibility is to cling onto nature : the sky, grass (1), or find a little demon watching (2), or walk just enough to find an old barrier (sigh of relief) (3), or, well, play with my cam in a minimalist mood (4).





What would you do?

Thanks for reading!

Your Garden is like your Spirit

This summer I watched and visited some gardens. I talked with owners. I tried to find my entrance : flowers, grass, trees & garden, maintenance, house & garden, proportions, harmony…

I came to this : a garden looks like the gardener’s spirit. It can be crazy, or multifaceted, or free, or clean, ordered, surprising, eccentric…

If your mind tends towards order, your life as a gardener becomes a fight, a struggle, a taming game.

Because your house is smooth and clean, but nature is growing, inventing, nature is funny, blossoming, changing. The garden lives, invites the sun, the trees, the leaves and the feathers, nature moves, casts shadows, and will always win…

So what? If I had a garden, I imagine I would consider my work as a dance with the forces I’m seeing. Offer flowers to the bees, shelters and water to the birds, some wild free places for the little ones like ladybugs and grasshoppers. Some pruning, but not to much. Tame it a little, the necessary only. Let it breathe in the wind…

In the end, rosebud throws up its little arms, right?

Thanks for reading!


“I spy… with my little eye… an anted ant & a dotless ladybug…”

I spy…

with my little eye…


an anted ant & a dotless ladybug,

a thoughtful dragonfly,

a cannon & an adorable farmer,

and a splendid rose, who’s alone…


Ant on leg is like a part of her other – henceforth, they’re one, forever.

Ladybug is one of her kind : her dots are in her mind.

Cannon has wheels, moves, loves and will protect headscarfed lady.

Dragonfly likes the soft clouds, today – she smiles and flies to the sky!

Rose doesn’t watch the grey wall neither the death around : she is happy and all pretty.




Thanks for reading!




Beach Bitch Logorrhea


In the Tube, in Paris, a silly fool with a hat is talking aloud on the platform (about Africa, that’s all I got), then in the carriage too, wax lyrical and boring. You couldn’t escape the sound, but his lecture was incoherent… Everybody was trying to ignore him (blahh blahh blahh), and I think they succeeded pretty well.


In the train. Fast, modern, quiet. People are silent, or whispering, they read or they touch their smartphone. Four young people, three girls and a guy, in a square four-seats nearby. One of them is the Fashion-Female-Blogger Type. You KNOW that Type, right? 25, successful, brilliant, wears “these” spectacles, red lips. She talks endlessly, has a strong opinion on everything, she is very VERY happy to be herself. She talks fast, happily, smartly, loudly to the three others (her court, right?). She immensely bores 75 persons around her too. The whole car!


My family story has been a bit complicated these last years, and I hadn’t been on a beach since… 2011. But, well, I stood on a bath towel last week, for two hours. The idea was great : the sand, the waves lapping, the sun, walking in the water…

The type who appeared very near here is the Parisian sixty something. Sunglasses and a phone. She seems worried, busy, in quite a hurry (though her heavy proud arse was squashing the sand), giving instructions in the phone, telling loudly that somebody knows nothing and she has to do alllll the job and fix everybody’s incompetent mistakes. Annoying 53 persons around. For half an hour (at least : I gave up and ran away).


In a train, back home. An 35 like Italian guy is arguing the Italian way with his wife (of mother). A little bit like in a movie, with a drawling I don’t care I’m Italian I’m sleepy I need a drink tone. “Si, si…”. In the phone, through the tiny loudspeaker, I could hear her, she was SCREAMING (the furious mamma Italian way, of course). He didn’t care at all. Hung up. She recalled immediately, yelling fastly like a furia diva). Happily, he wasn’t around her : he would have felt the wind of the plates flying towards his head). Vzzz!


Sigh. What’s the point, here? Lack of empathy. That’s all. Logorrhea sounds diarrhea, and she’s a cousin, for sure… People talk crap a lot, but when I’m around, they should shut up, voilà! Or I need an island. Or my room. Or a decrapper (which basically could be a cork).

What is that paradox? People logorrhea-monolog in every ear they find, but they’re incapable of weaving a real conversation – which is something else. Oui?

I dreamed I smashed the tube black man, on the hat, poof, here’s to you. I dreamed I spit in miss – “today here’s my crap daily beauty routine” – fashion’s glasses, spflurt. I dreamed I smacked pif paf miss Beach-Bitch’s greasy nose, took her phone and her dentures and throw them into the sea in a big laugh (then I run). OK, I forgive Mario, whatever moron he is. I liked Mario. He didn’t care… and he couldn’t escape the furious voice

Hm. I have logorrhea too, as it seems…

It had to go out. I’m sorry.

Thanks for reading!


“What do we displace, today, dear?”

There’s a French/English problem with the word “Translation” :

In English, you use the same word to translate a word (in a language to another language) AND to translate in geometry (which “moves every point of a figure or a space by the same distance in a given direction”).

In French, “to translate a word” is Traduire, and “to translate geometrically” is Translater. Which becomes for nouns : Une Traduction / Une Translation.


I had fun one day writing an article about concepts translations, which is, for example, to pick an architecture concept (“the door”, “the archway”) and to use it in another discipline (in poetry, in photography, or teaching).

“Displacing Concepts” : from Architecture to Poetry ?


I admit my brain is in some places connected like that : as soon as I notice a structure, I want to extract it and play with it around, in… another discipline.

  • The idea of verse in poetry would become interesting in photography.
  • The form “sonata” in music is maybe something in architecture.
  • Etc.


Today I take my magnifier and I realize we could do this “exercise” with other things than concepts.

  1. Methods
  2. Models
  3. Invention
  4. Team
  5. Supervision
  6. Training exercises types
  7. Risks
  8. Out of the box thinking
  9. Paradigm changes
  10. Etc


I know someone who studied how music pedagogy could be useful to language learning. That’s a fantastic idea!

Now this is a subject for an afternoon conversation, right?

If you don’t have a partner for that, read some prefaces or thinkers’ interviews, find the seeds and patterns, and apply them elsewhere.

What is impressionism (art) in teaching? What is a corridor (architecture) in marketing campaign? What is a fade to black (movie editing) in poetry? What can a street photographer bring to a lecturer? Etc.

Have fun. Thanks for reading!


An Alzheimer last contact

Alzheimer is a sad and mysterious process. It let the spouse in an awe, watching their other vanishing into themselves.

They remember how to talk, but they sometimes wonder who’s this person living in their place… They sometimes just sit, like lost into nothing. They watch you with something special in the eye. They are afraid, sometimes…

My father has been there. He rests in peace now…


These last weeks I have been in contact with old persons or stories : one man who is slowly sinking into Alzheimer, one woman who becomes a bit… old (lazy for certain things (cooking, cleaning), or repeating things two or three times), and another who had to be put in a retirement home because she fell on the floor too many times…

I heard dialogs, I detected some patterns in the families around…

  • They talk about them as if they were deaf, or kids, or “not here”, or non-understanding. The sick or old persons become like “objects” – and the talkers don’t imagine that this poor person maybe hears and understands we’re talking about them… as a silly person.
  • They talk to the spouse harshly, giving them “advices” about who to see and meet, what to do, where to “put” them – non realizing how hard it must be for this person to do that, to lose their lifetime sidekick, to consider them as… lost. It’s hurtful!

And actually, at one moment it becomes obvious that the sick persons don’t understand anymore. Anything?

I know why it’s hard for me! Because I have too much empathy. For both worlds : the sick persons (my brain tries desperately to understand what they do understand), and the helpers and spouses…


As my father was almost lost into this oblivion world, he one day called me on the phone as I was walking to work. It was a surprise because he was at an advanced stage of his sickness, and normally couldn’t phone alone anymore (or even have a little walk in the village without losing himself).

The person I heard on the phone was my father. He had a clear voice. He was calling me. And he said : “Merci” – Thank you – before hanging up.

I had to stop walking. It was his farewell, to his son, probably pronounced during an instant of lucidity. He died a few months later.


Thanks for reading!