(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) :

http://www.academie-francaise.fr/dire-ne-pas-dire/neologismes-anglicismes

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

JP

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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

 

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Charles Sheeler, a precisionist American painter

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Precisionism

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!

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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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Little_Chaos

“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!

 

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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).

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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!