Acceleration & Ways of laughing : Chronicle 14

Why are my friends mostly women? Because men always want to win. As a man, talking to a man always leads to competition. This is really boring…
And, of course, my female friends almost all say that they prefer to talk with… men. It’s the way the world goes, I suppose…

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Today I learned about the word “Culprit“, and in my mind there’s a confusion with “Guilty”. In French, the word is the same : coupable. It’s a weird feeling to discover two words in a language while you have just one in yours!

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A few days ago I saw a guy I know coming in the street. He didn’t see me, then, as I was parking my bike, he did the Store Front Escape. What I read in this “sudden interest” is “I don’t want to talk to this person”. So be it. Me neither maybe, voilà.

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There’s a Virilio simple dial : “Acceleration leads to accident”. What does that mean? When you examine this pattern, do you think about the guy who drives too fast, progress, or about the whole civilization?

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In this blog I claim to be a pecker , like a bird lacking of culture, casually (and randomly) finding microscopic ideas to share. This strange freedom, weaved with the uneasy but comforting idea that my-english-is-not-good-but-I-try-though… makes it what it is!

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There’s a seesaw (we call this in French un tape-cul : a hit-ass – makes sense?) I find in many authors or artists : it’s a swing between 1/ the anxiety of losing some time and 2/  go with the flow and do nothing special. Always interesting to see how people deal with that, and what maturity brings them (guess in which way)…

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We have this word for “shell”, in French : un coquillage, which seems more magic to me. Une coquille d’œuf : an eggshell. Une coquille d’escargot : a snail shell. What do you find on the shore? A shell or a shellfish? Shells, of course. I wonder if in English it’s “charged” like in French : a word full of the sea, the salty taste, the texture and the frame of shells… Maybe it is! But the word itself is delicious, right? Coquillage…

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Some French words in “age” (pronounce not “age”, but “aj”) are like dreaming in the air at the end of the word : nuage (cloud), sillage (the wake behind a boat)

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You’ll always read that other people “can’t really know you”. We are islands, etc. In fact, I’m sure that it’s not true. Some rare people are able and will “know” you (ha, like “I see you” in Avatar!), or a part of your personality. There’s nothing like someone who gets you. Immediately, love is around, or at least a kind of magic bond, intensity. And I think that one of the tragedies of life is to have someone who is able to see you… and you don’t realize it. You don’t listen…

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There’s this little trick between French and English about this phrase : “I miss you”. We say : “Tu me manques”, because this verb is used the other way round in France. It’s a little like “You miss to me”, or worse : “You lack to me”. I’m sorry, it’s uglily said, but it’s true! And I can’t stop plunging into a meditation about how language structures our reality. “I miss you” is very different, in fact, than “You now are lacking to me”… well… sort of. Just imagine that “miss” in French is the other way round. So sorry 🙂

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Sometimes you know someone very well, but you’re surprised to see this person with unknown people. There’s one thing to watch, then : the way she laughs in front of others. Countenance or composure laughing… where people hear joy, and where you hear timidity, hidden rushes, panic, a way to shut up, a given time to think about things to say and, her eyes constantly checking you, a need for help, support, hand in back, come next to me, I need you, friendship and deep bond reaffirmation. All this… in a laugh.

 

Thanks for reading!

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Letting go, but hear Nietzsche creak : Chronicle 13

“La lecture est vraiment la volupté des temps incertains”
“Reading is really the delight of uncertain times”

Jean Giono

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Foucault says that he is tired of comments about “respecting” Nietzsche’s philosophy. The only mark of recognition or gratitude he wants to show to his work and mind is precisely to USE it, to deform it, to make is creak.

This is exactly how I consider philosophy and widerly my two “shelves for seeds” : an ensemble of books which are whole tooboxes. I know my blog is creaking at time, but I find it funny and maybe I hope useful at times.

 

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Somebody told me one day a disturbing thing : “You are a better photographer than blogger”. Well… thank you? Little by little, this idea found its path in my mind. I bought a book about photography, and three days ago I woke up my old Canon bridge camera.

Everything you see on this article comes from it. I loved to take them.

But, well, I keep blogging, though 🙂

Thank you!

 

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Jünger asks :

“What are the low-down forms of gaiety?”

 

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Shikantaza, in Zen Buddhism, literally means,”nothing but precisely sitting.”

Learn how to “let go”, nondoing, nonthinking…

Question is :

How not to think about nonthinking? And how not to want… nonwill?

 

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When I talk with 30 and 40 years old people, we’re about the same. I maybe have lost some more illusions.

There’s one big difference, only one, though. Les vieux fous sont plus fous que les jeunes : old fools are more fool than young ones.

I am absolutely NOT an adventurer, but on my field, on my territory, I would dare and I dare much more. I don’t care about “baby steps” anymore. Life is pretty short, and I’m not afraid. Rules (inner rules and society pressure too) can really be moved. Between two choices, I pick both.

So the difference, when I’m fifty, is : I propose much more, and I listen to propositions with many “YES” in my basket, all ready. What could happen, after all? I’m ready.

 

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Le temps porte conseil : en général celui de ne rien faire.

Claude Roy

If I rawtranslate this, I get “Time brings counsel : which is in general to do nothing”.

I googled and found that in English, time does not brings counsel, but “Time will tell”; this is a bit different, right?

More common, “la nuit porte conseil” : Night brings counsel. There, I found :

  • Night is the mother of counsel
  • Take advice of your pillow
  • Sleep on it

And, oh my, that’s so true!…

Thanks for reading!

 

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Amazement & Learning : Chronicle 12

It is when you have tried and failed that you are truly able to surrender. Though you fail time and again, you continue to try until, finally, there comes a point when you accept your failure; you fully experience and understand your incapacity to move forward. It is at that point that you surrender. So keep trying. That ultimate sense of failure must come to everyone, either today or tomorrow.”

Sri Mata Anandamayi

I love this quote, which seems to say that this “surrender” is, in fact, the answer : once you reached this, you surrender, you let go : you can go on another path. Try another thing, of another “nature”.

There’s an article to write, here. “Insist until you know your fail, until you’re done”. On purpose. Then consider your other options. Which are awaiting, probably.

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I remember a great conversation about teaching. This activity is VERY interesting to think about. There are so many questions you can ask a new teacher!

Flipped classrooms, Theory of multiple intelligences, of course, but also about discipline, how you “hold” a classroom, how you watch kids, what are the differences between countries. And this : do you sometimes use “amazement” to get kids to understand, or just keep following you?

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There are some letters… I find it wise not to send them.

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Gide in his diary tells about drunk people arguing :

– “I tell you I don’t need you.”
– “Perhaps not… But you need… not to need… me.”

Thanks for reading!

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When pleasure is not in the things, but in the difference between things – Chronicle 11

“To see is to forget the names of the thing one sees.”
“Regarder, c’est oublier les noms des choses que l’on voit”
― Paul Valéry

A few days ago I was in Paris at a book marathon for professionals. Imagine rooms full of booksellers, and a parade of book companies representatives (with Powerpoint slides) lecturing them about all the “GREAT” books (about food, art, science, nature, history, whatever) which will be available before the end of the year. This for hours.

This is exhausting, but it’s also very interesting, of course. We were sometimes amazed by some splendid front covers, or by good ideas (there’s a Art coffee table book about “the last painting before they die”). It’s a bit like you, hungry book lover, when you come in a store to lurk what is “on the tables”.

Most of the representatives had only 10 minutes to talk about their stuff, before leaving the place for the next one. In the afternoon, as a part of us were in a smaller room to talk about, well, “more specialized books”, a guy came, began his lecture and we all immediately realized that… we’ve seen the same slides in the morning, presented by someone else.

I doubt it was made on purpose (but who knows?) but it was interesting and we watched it differently for many reasons :

Nobody had the heart to say him. We breathed differently like in a release of tension, like “Oh, OK, I’ve seen these”, defocusing and refocusing with casualness, along the presentation. I was playing this game which is to notice the different ways this other man was talking about the books, focusing on details the other person forgot to tell, and vice versa. When pleasure is not in the things, but in the difference between things.

Isn’t there a tool, here, for lectures, advertising, marketing, entertainment? I’m sure there is…

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Charles Juliet writes in his diary that it’s sometimes when you are at your lowest ebb that other people come to see you for help. Is it because you’re dismantled inside? Well, it’s not written on your forehead, right? Then… I don’t know. But it’s true.

 

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English words I’m struggling with :

  • Roster is a list, but for a team only? People? Can we imagine a feelings roster?
  • Unmoored are for boats, but can I use it for me? I unmoored “from” something?
  • Uphill is upward, so why there’s another word? Is it colored “difficult”?
  • Frayed is for fabric, but also stressed (for a man). Is it stressed but weak?
  • Fester, for a situation, is getting dangerous? Slow? Awkward? Rotten?
  • Uncanny is like supernatural? Weird, or great?
  • Unflinching means also “moving” or it can be “stand your ground”?
  • Gallivanting is colored by laziness or not? Pleasure? Love? Melancholy?

 

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“To see is to forget the names of the thing one sees.”, says Paul Valéry. It’s a very strong sentence, able to stop everything in me. It works for things, concepts, people, etc. Words are really dangerous. Because we eventually think they “are” the truth. Notice he said “the names”, plural.

Dance, poetry, painting and music are able to show things “between” words, when the language is not subtle enough to tell what is happening. Philosophy tells us about haecceity, which says we are constantly different, moving, trying to grip the many changes and the possibilities of life.

Beware when you think about someone with a couple of words. Dreams of reason produce monsters. We are not monsters.

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One day someone said to me :

“You live in the past & I live in the future”

Woahhhh perfect nastiness, right? Give the dog a bone! Some assertions are so absurd than you begin to take them to pieces – without saying a word, right?

We all live in the present, and that’s all. Every human being uses his memory and the past as a map to make better choices. And everyone is constantly watching the possibilities of the future. This is brain functioning…

If you’re not made of cardboard, you change, you use everything you know, you want, you propose, you desire, you are not steady, because you are… alive :

  • you watch behind
  • you watch now
  • you watch in front of you

Well, I suppose this phrase was destined to say “I’m better than you”, right?

 

By the way, what is the difference between nastiness and meanness? I suppose meanness is more calculated, nastiness more cruel and crazy? I don’t know; really…

 

Hey! Have a nice day!

 

 

“To see is to forget the names of the thing one sees.”

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Intimacy as “reading a book together” : Chronicle 10

Today I learned an english word : “Suitor“. In French we say “Un prétendant”… isn’t it a bit strange?

Immediately I wondered : is it always masculine? What would be a “female suitor”? A suitress? Nahhh…

Big Love (capitals, please) and Passion, we need to cross this in life, right? But when you become an adult you’re more interested by spending quality time together. You are quieter, you share, you think about this thing which is called : INTIMACY.

Tonight I thought about this, thanks to a New York Times article, a letter from a couple : the husband was explaining that his wife was ill and tired, just out of hospital, so he began to read books to her.

THAT is intimacy, that is love, the love I love.

Maybe I’m too French romantic, but watching an Art Book with the woman I love has been a totally tender and satisfying experience. Weirdly, I would remember these moments more than sex.

You don’t need 142 suitors. Just look for a man who is able to have a ten hours conversation with you (seems like ten minutes, right?). Just look for a girl who will REALLY be interested in watching some Art book you have on your shelves, asking, talking, smiling, turning the pages, initiating conversations, etc, etc, etc.

You know that kind of intimacy, right?

Thanks for reading!

 

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Pictures : Poumeyrol

Sad Heart, Merry Spirit : Chronicle 9

I read in a Claude Roy diary, as he’s around 70 years old, that he would like to reach this season, this state : “Le temps du cœur triste et de l’esprit gai” – the time of the sad heart and the merry spirit.

Here I have a vocabulary problem : is “gai” happy, merry, gay, jolly? I don’t know. I chose merry.

But I’m very fascinated by this “goal”, from an aged author I liked very much. As if he knew he could never heal his heart. But, knowing this, building his own happiness, a “merry spirit”. This touched me, a lot.

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Just read an article evoking Robert Osborne, a TCM Television Presenter who just died at 87 years old. It is told that Olivia de Havilland had with him :

One phone call a week, for decades.

Awwweeee! (-> this was the sound of my merry spirit). I wish I had a friend so close that she would call me once a week until I die at 87. Like a whatever-happens-I-want-to-talk-with-you. Awwweeee again (my merry spirit if very merried by this idea).

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I read (but where, is it Casanova or Jünger?) about the Venice Purse, a knack which says that when you have to go to a “dangerous” place (which was Venice at the time), you needed to have two purses, one with a little money in case you’re robbed, attacked, knocked out, and another one with the main part of it – well hidden.

It’s just funny to know, but then you realize that when you travel abroad you really have to think about what you do with your passport, the amount of money you have with you, etc. I wonder what this concept can tell us about life in general : Be cautious? Watch the exits? Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket? But also : GO to places where you need to think about the Venice Purse, right?

Venice, in French, is VENISE. A perfect word to say : Venizzz. Elegant as a swan, right? Venice is more like braking at the end. No good. French better, sorry.

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Elmore Leonard says somewhere about novels writing : “If it seems written, I rewrite”.

What a beautiful idea, right? Writing Style Dissimulation Efforts.

And a paradox many artists know well : work, work, work, until nobody sees you worked. It’s an interesting goal, and the path itself is enthralling too. How to reach?

There’s a balance to find, I suppose. It means you have the eyes to know when it’s not OK, when it is OK. Experience.

Well I have a vocabulary problem again. When do you use “enthralling“, dear? Can you say that about a person? How is it radioactivitied? Thrilling? Fearful? Exciting? Or more like “plainfully satisfying”?

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I watched the Iowa episode of Aerial America yesterday. It’s amazing how many times I hear “French” in these. Detroits and Illinois were “frenchised” words, and how Iowa is a piece of this territory called Louisiana, the US bought to the French 214 years ago.

These TV programs tell me how BIG are the United States. Tonight I’ll watch Illinois, following the path of Bill Bryson’s book across America in car (cf Fixin’to traveling in the USA).

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OK, it’s too long. I seize the run-up since a few weeks (is “seize the run-up” a good title?), like making the most of an epistolary energy…

I stop here. Next Chronicle next week. Here’s le hug by Ze French :

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Have a nice day!

 

Palm of Ordinary Seeds & Masters Wrong : Chronicle 8

Within my reach !
I could have touched !
I might have chanced that way !
Emily Dickinson 

 

For some of us, who have inside a sort of “rush”, a surge, an inner run-up force, there are many ways. You can Huckleberry Finn along a river, you can also Kerouac all along the road, you can choose a passion (collecting – forks or shipwreck books -, throw yourself into sports, politics, veganism or religion, anything that can keep you busy). If you have young kids, you don’t have to worry : these little brats will keep you busy. You can disappear, too, into alcoholism or antidepressants, or sleep. Shopping, why not, if you’re moneyfilled.

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My daughter was in England all past week in Plymouth, including the day people were killed and stabbed in London. You will see plenty of pictures of people in Europa saying “We Are Not Afraid”, and, like Londonians during the V1 V2 Nazi bombing during WWII, we are NOT afraid. I told my daughters to live, to shop, go to theaters and restaurants and have fun with friends. That’s our way to resist : to stay ourselves against idiots.

And yes : spot the emergency exits, everywhere they go.

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When you advise a friend to read a book, to watch a movie, and she or he asks why, you answer : “You will know once you’re on it”. With a certain smile, right?

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When a window is closed, another can open. What kind? What is different? What if it was the last window, closed for ever?

After a big disappointment, what’s left ? Pieces : misanthropy, auto-torture about ideals and dreams, and Art as a shelter.

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What do we do (or think we can do) against an formidable enemy, a wrong energy? What if you can’t resist because it would be stupidly useless? Seeds for an article :

  • Don Quichotte’s mills
  • A drop in the water
  • An attempt for appel d’air
  • Dessiller (open sb’s eyes)
  • Draw maps (for later)
  • Barometer (to warn)
  • Warn, alert
  • Guerilla
  • Witness
  • Grains of sand (in the clock)
  • Breaches & holes drilling

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Map of Variations :

To draw a map is very common. You can use it anytime, on anything. Territory, music, history, love. Then it’s not “really” a map, but a set of informations about something complex, a table, a chart.

Choose a song and list elements : lyrics, instruments, production, place of instruments in the sound, construction. There’s one “another nature” map, though : It’s how all these change and evolve in time.

Seed/Tool : in every chart you find or work on, think about the MoV.

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Feedbacking a patient can have a great effect, I read once. It’s probably the same for teachers, parents… It means : stopping being “The One Who Knows”, ride down next to your patient/student, and talk man-to-man about YOU. This can have a tremendous good effect. Your advice, on this?

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This is a seed for short stories : “When imminent danger is a godsend”. Why, where, how, etc. Your turn!

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Embarrassment when you see a Master out of his domain. Nietzsche’s music? Schoenberg’s paintings? Or someone you know? A great cook trying to fix his car? A genius computer programmer parenting? And so what?

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Sapiosexual breakups are the worse. Because instead of missing an inventing sex life, magic tenderness and a silky skin, you miss a thinking brain, a conversation master, a challenging thinker, you miss questions, surprises, bends and laughs. AND magic tenderness, okay. That’s worse, eventually.

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Eventually is a very tricky word for us French. I know it means “after some time”, or even “finally”. But in French, “éventuellement” means “possibly”, or “potentially”. Well, even now I have to check. Each time I use it. My brain doesn’t not want it. I always want to call Obama on the phone to explain him there’s a mistake.

Thanks for reading! Have a great day!

Jean-Pascal

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