“This is how it should be done: lodge yourself on a stratum, experiment with the opportunities it offers, find an advantageous place on it, find potential movements of deterritorialization, possible lines of flight, experience them, produce flow conjunctions here and there, try out continuums of intensities segment by segment, have a small plot of new land at all times.”
In all languages of the world, you know that pattern : when you watch a word too closely, you find it very weird suddenly. Blop.
For “Tumble down”, we have a verb. The fact that we in France don’t use the “up”, “down”, “back” and so on, forces us to invent words. This verb is :
Your bag of oranges crashes and opens at the top or your stairs : oranges dégringolent, they tumble down, right?
It happens for all men and women on the planet. A big betrayal, realizing something bitter, a failure, and you tumble down. You crash. You want to cryscream, you want to be hiddendead, you wanna kill the sky!
The common name for dégringoler is dégringolade, and it’s a word so funny (though everybody knows it here) that it becomes strange. Unlike your “fall” or “tumbling”, I reckon. You have your own strange words, right? “Betrayal” is strange…
Some day, you see your spouse in full dégringolade. It’s messy. Your love or your partner is desperate, has lost it. Total failure.
And of course, it’s NEVER a total failure. You have to stand now, OK?
There’s a “Duty of Apology” here. You have to move your ass and pull your partner up, right? It can be a spouse, a collaborator, an associate. When someone’s down : ACT.
Apology : FIND WHAT’S GOOD here, and say it! Beat the drum! She needs it!
It’s your duty.
Thanks for reading!
Instagram : _bodylanguage_
Like watching a tree in the wind for a long time, it becomes…
If you like to explore knowledge and history of men, you probably, like me, from time to time choose a field and dig it completely with excitement – you draw maps, you read, you try to find your own gold nuggets.
What’s bitten him?
John Ford’s cinema, or Kurozawa, or Brian de Palma. Or a painter : Hopper or Da Vinci, or Monet. Music ? Ravel or Shostakovich? Churchill, Lincoln, a French king? An architect, a poet? Faulkner?
Exploring is a joy. Books, conversations, documentaries, Internet. It’s like a map or a puzzle you complete little by little.
At one moment, “vous avez fait le tour”, as we say in French, you finished to turn around it : all angles. You have your little trunk, full of treasures. From time to time you like to complete it, to add a book…
But some fields, some characters are continents, it’s too much, too complex to examine all angles… Why?
Because the subject is too big. Choose Puccini or Orson Welles, you’ll be OK. But study the US Revolution, Napoléon, or the Italian Renaissance, and you’re dead.
Because the subject has too many links. It happened to me with the US Civil War. I read about Lincoln, slavery, battles, Indian natives, daily life at this time, consequences in Europa, “just after the war”, black problems in the XXth century…
Because a personality or his art is too complex to understand completely.Manet in painting (a constant flow of paradoxes and possibilities), Mahler in classical music (not that “hard” to listen, but with so many facets and complexities), probably Proust in literature…
All this is a bit fractal, too : you can pick up a very tiny subject and explore it very well and so precisely that it becomes… infinite.
A tiny subject can be an “dot”. One movie director from Norway. The diary of your grandmother. An unknown painter from Provence.
It also could be a slight slice of a big event. One day in Germany during the WWII. A single battle of the Revolutionary War.
Something besides. You like Stravinsky? Then you could study his influence.
A much less known artist, or political man, or geographic place. Try Koechlin in French music. Or the guy who helped Lincoln with trains during the war. Study the city of Baku, in Azerbaijan.
Choose another angle. Instead of exploring Tolstoï, read about his wife. Don’t study Communism, but the Mccarthysm againts movie makers, the life of John Reed, or daily life in USSR’s during collectivization.
Move a cursor : don’t read about the Russian Revolution but how was the daily life there twenty years before.
There’s a danger of being stuck for your whole life : the subject your chose is so enthralling that you’ll never quit it.
What subject(s) did you choose? Why? Did it end quickly or did you stay for years? Do you wait to have more time to attack a big one?
Wandering into a book about Miles Davis, I found one entry : Enigmas. As a director, he indeed oftenly told strange phrases to the musicians he was playing with.
He quickly told, during a concert, “Don’t play the butter notes” to Herbie Hancock, who had to guess what it was about. To forget the fat, the obvious notes, play dry?…
But also “Implicit in Davis’s advice is the counterintuitive idea that having fewer options actually expands the creative possibilities available to a musician, because you have to work extra hard to make up for the absent notes.”
Therefore : a more aerial game AND creativity triggering, from and after a five words injunction!
There’s one tool here, for team managers, who need :
The sense of timing (when to aim, and how)
The sense of immediacy
The will to disturb someone “in a good way”
The Koan talent (find the good phrase to unblock a frustrated collaborator)
The director skills (how to opportunely address a whole team or one of its elements)
Analysis or Vision? Logic or Instinct? It’s up to you…
This leads me to an end : Message Addressees.
To click on enigmatic messages, to understand a koan, to dismantle a manipulator‘s discourse, you have to think, you need to be trained.
If you’re a fast thinker like Herbie Hancock, you accept the good idea, you understand it and apply it with your possibilities and your will. As if someone showed you a window. Let’s jump through it!
Negatively? Toxic communicators and bad managers will often try to define you, to put you down, to trick you with paradoxes, injunctions or enigmatic assertions. If you’re aware of it, you’ll have fun dismantling all these processes at fast pace, clipping along the suite of sentences and putting the dead bones on your wooden desk : Ok this, then that, and oh this too…
Then you do what you have to do.
Now I think about strange movies like Fight Club (Fincher) or Eyes Wide Shut (Kubrick), which have the capacity to bore the bored, and to activate some others…
Conclusion : Enigmas, good or bad, are good for thinkers!
Bad books (and blogs) can be useful for a writer – but I suppose it’s a low level thing.
It (possibly) can make your brain move, like this :
I would have written it better,
in another way,
I would have added this and that, etc…
It makes you angry, and you can try to use this strange gas-oil which is anger.
You can say that the author is a spirit-enemy (the useful thing of feeling or “inventing an enemy” is an old trick), it triggers your mobilization. Fight him… and write.
Any negative feeling (next to anger is bitterness, hate, sarcasms, etc) can be used too. Your clockworkbrain is activated. Some guys (in your head) will step into the breach. Geronimo!
After all, you could maybe find a good idea or a pleasant formulation in a bad book or a bad blog, it’s really the idea of a seed found within dust and rocks. Steal it and make it grow your own way, haha!
I suggest you prepare and foresee an antidote (a good book) – to clean your head, by Jove!
This, of course, is an exercise. You can not separate books and blogs between “good ones and bad ones”. It’s all relative, silly. It depends.
You have to consider that what YOU write can also be considered the same way by another reader. Your wordings as a bad place, as a bad example, inspiring better things? Awwweee! That’s a good (low level) thing, right? 🙂
Use anger to write? It’s an advice I got from a good friend, one day. Why not?
Let’s think about it…
Find a subject which makes you angry. Politics? An artist you dislike? An enemy? Oh, better : a bad moment of the past. And then you go girl!
Use bitterness to write? Use problems to write? Sorrow? Jealousy? Hopelessness? Disappointment? Frustration? Why not?
William Boyd (or maybe it’s David Lodge, I can’t remember) answers NO. He says one doesn’t need to be in despair, drunk or bored to write a novel. He says he strongly needs calm, coffee and his slippers, in a warm home, to write. Well… Good to him, right?
We all know that we write to be loved, it’s the undercurrent. Then, you have the things we say (see this article about bloggers motivations) : “I write” – to share, to explain, to express myself, to make money, to meet people…
Many of us write to stay busy, to stand up, to do something else than overthinking. Our brain needs a bone to gnaw on, oui? Therefore I consider OK to use bad feelings to write.
The reader will know, probably. He’ll read the unsaid. He’ll feel your tone. He’ll try to guess what happened “in broad strokes”. Let’s hope he’ll smile. “Hey, he’s been offended or what?”, or “Woah, this person has been betrayed!”.
This article is about the meaning of a sentence in Bach’s Cantata, and the different ways it is translated (from German to French or English), and what it can bring us about how the ways we deal with life.
I woke up a little disoriented by an obsessive, dense nightmare telling me in details that my life was really losing its cohesion. A mess like “having books but not knowing why any more”, “fearing the loss of purpose”, “falling sick but this time it won’t end well”, or “I’ll have to work a lot, without being sure it’s useful, to understand the fragments, the scales of my life” : terrible!
I sat on my bed, in need of a big coffee, happy to realize it was only a nightmare, watching a grey quiet queasy luminous sky, thinking about this little irony of life we all know :
When you work, it’s sunny, when you’re off, it rains.
We all have this feeling of the irony of life, with all the shades. Murphy’s Laws (“Anything that can go wrong will go wrong”) are often hilarious to read. If France we sometime call it “LEM”, La Loi de l’Emmerdement Maximum, or “The Law of the Maximum Merdation”, which will make sense to everyone, oui?
But eventually it begins to hit harder. It deals with failure, love break-ups, losing job, or even death. I’ll tell you this true story.
Before WWII, a young upper class lady fell in love in France with a simple employee. Her family prevented her to marry the young man and arranged a more “proper” marriage. She had to accept it, I suppose. But decades later, in the 80s, her husband died, and then the unwealthy guy’s wife too. They were old, but happy : they fell back in love, lived this love, got married… and he died very soon.
I remembered this story because every member of her family kept telling her “Stop crying, you had a great life!”. So she stopped crying. And a week later was in hospital in emergency : her legs had tripled volume. Diagnostic : “Water Retention”.
For the next part of this article I have to say that I’m don’t believe in any “God”. Nevertheless, faith inspired humans some great Art, right?
Johann Sebastian Bach wrote a Cantata “for the Feast of Visitation of Mary” (BWV 147) which is well known for the end : “Jesus bleibet meine Freude“.
This last part is very well known by the title “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” – I just added the YouTube link under this paragraph – but it’s been translated to “sound better” : “Jesus bleibet meine Freude” is more like : “Jesus shall remain my gladness“.
(I found also : Jesus remains my joy, Jesus stays my source of gladness, Jesus shall remain my joy).
Here’s the paragraph :
Jesus remains my joy, the comfort and life’s blood of my heart, Jesus defends me against all sorrows, he is my life’s strength,
Bach, the year he composed the music, suffered the loss of two of his children. Johann August Abraham died the day after he was born, and a bit later Regina Johanne, who was 4 years old, died too.
I suppose that in the XVIIIth Century even more than now, you really can write things like “Jesus remains my joy”. The use of “remains” tells something about “I have to stay strong, I decide to be”.
The French translation is wrong too. We say here : “Jésus, que ma joie demeure”, which means something a bit different : “Jesus, may my joy remains”.
The English and German are a statement : “Jesus remains my joy”
The French is a prayer, a supplication : “Jesus, may my joy remains”
You’ll notice that it is not either “Jesus, give me joy”, or even “help me”, but more “Allow my joy to keep existing”…
This difference between a statement and a plea in the form of “Please allow” is fascinating enough to keep some of us thinking for a day. It’s different, but also so similar. Both tell us about thewill to stay strong…
I’d summerize this all with this question :
What do we do against ordeal?
This is the longest article I ever wrote! Thanks for reading my Frenchy English!
PS : You can maybe, also, read this : Amor Fati (and Sequere Deum).
We all of us have been there, even you, bloggers, right? :
You are busy at work, or you’re at a party, or you’re on a date.
You would LOVE to be totally wise & oriental and “fully live the moment”. But you are not.
You have things to do, but you deeply desire a hard-working loneliness, well you will at least have all the time necessary to : write your article, explore your ideas, paint, or begin your first novel.
Yeah, you see me coming : When you have the chance to be in this moment, alone, quiet, with a few hours free, you… do nothing. You procrastinate. You wander, take a nap, have a lazy poolsplash, you don’t even try to begin (or if you do, your hand stays in the air holding its pencil while daydreaming about elephants or printers. Strange statue!).
And therefore you are a bit angry against yourself because you spoil your time, and you feel this ugly emptiness I would call self-wtf.
Dial/Lever : What does that mean? Are we strong inside but lazy in action? What could we do to fix that? Discipline? Daily same-hour schedules, like Stephen King and other writers? What if we decided to stop everything “at once” when we wish to have time. Abandon job? Date goodbyeing? Party flight? Just to write at once? Why not. What are YOUR solutions?
Motivation quotes are so great, fresh, energetic and so simple that you wonder “why you didn’t do it before”…
“Who you surround yourself with is who you will become”. Awwweee! That makes sense, using people like chess pawns, and considering the others like dusty useless boring people – who slow your path towards your “goals”. Problem is of course you have to know… before you surround. You need magic, then. Surround with a wizard first. I wonder what I should think of lonely people, too.
You need discipline, because “Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment”. This is beautiful and I’m almost crying. Problem is you don’t have this discipline (are you able to not eat this chocolate slab?), life is complex, your goals are moving, your uncertainty quotient has ups and downs, and you need a glass of wine.
“Love the sound of your feet walking away from things not meant for you” (and people, I suppose). Well, if you’re a X-Men, that’s great, because you know in advance what is meant for you, right? This way, you avoid “what is not meant”, but also “what could mean” for you one day, but do you care, really? Nope, but think of “NOT walking away from things not meant for you”. What could you discover?
“Stop seeking approval” is really fantastic, thank you I’m cured! But of course everybody’s seeking approval, even those lying liars who dared to write this. They craaaave likes, and followers, they want, like everyone of us, to be loved. Or maybe your a Hygge robot, you live with a chair, a flower and a fork, and you’d NEVER blog about that, because approval seekers are weak persons, losing their goal. Which I’ll never reach because I seek approval a LOT, and I’m not Hygge, but more in Hug needing. Have some?
“Your only limit is you”, but nahh, not true. Limits are veryeverywhere (I just invented this word, my only limit is me, see?). Laws, society, approval seeking, budget, world, incompetence, betrayals, weather too. Weather is important, oui? I like this one too : “I can and I will”. No you won’t. Okey, maybeeee…
“Don’t stop when you are tired, stop when you’re done”. Just hope you won’t have a car accident in between (yaaaawn). Come on! Get a nap, you deserve it, John.
Well, you can have fun with these for days. Just Google “motivation quotes”. Endless.
Last but no least, “Old ways won’t open new doors”. Errr. Eff… That’s pretty true, right?
…or “demotivation quotes”, make you think and are funnier :
If you’re a creative person, you encountered the “Fecundity of Limits” concept, obviously. Fruition. I’d distinguish :
the limits you choose yourself
the limits given to you by someone in charge
the limits you encounter while you’re building your stuff.
Choosing your own limits is such… a pleasure. It’s about preparing your work. Paint something with 3 colors only. Write a book in a month. Travel, but no more than 5 miles a day.
Limits coming as instructions can be a relief. Many actors talk about the freedom you have while you have to obey strict orders. It’s about unfolding inside a frame : perfect for certain personalities.
The limits you encounter are parts of the building process. Your technical shortfalls is a good example. You then move forward “within” your capacities – trying maybe to push them back. The budget can be a limit. You’ll discover the others while you work : It’s a stream, a current!
Tool : Choose, change them, ask someone for limits (as seeds), think about them while your create, and then… forget your feedback : you’re in the flow, a good one!
When I was 25 I complained to a friend of mine who was 40, a painter. I was composing music slowly and in a bitter way because I was missing instruments, equipment, etc. I had a Macintosh, a mic, a synth, a reverb and a flute.
In art or life, sometimes we feel stuck, therefore we don’t do anything, because we “miss something”, we don’t have enough of this or that : we just wait, bored like a lonely koala in the taiga.
So we just “watch a goal”, a state or a line where, at last, we will be able to begin.
THEN we will have enough time, enough money, enough energy to do it!
I will… paint, compose, be happy, invent, write, blog, learn, the day I will have this or that, blah blah blah…
This is procrastination, laziness & threnody. Sometimes it’s useful to wait, though…
My friend told me I was silly, and, as a painter, that if she only had a pen and paper she would work. “Do something with your flute and your keyboard, instead of complaining, silly!”.
Okey. Watch around. Pick up a tool. Begin. To begin : begin, as they say. Now. That’s true!
…unless you don’t work for another reason, using this syndrome to do nothing. Rhoooo this is baaaad!
Rimbaud was a French poet who had a huge influence on Arts and Literature, but stopped writing at 21. He became a merchant, mostly in Africa (in coffee trading, for example!), and died at 37.
Gould was a Canadian pianist who stopped giving concerts at the age of 31 and became an eccentric hermit in recording studios.
Different destinies, but a similar pattern : at one moment, they stopped completely something they succeeding in, they closed a door.
Rimbaud stopped writing. Many wondered why : The artist had said everything? He wanted to explore another face of his personality? He had a secret wound? Dead wordsourcespring?
Gould didn’t stop making music, but never came back playing in concert, and he explained himself about that.
I write this because I wonder if sometimes we should consider a similar flip. A combination of levers & dials, studying what’s good in our life, considering that insisting (even in different ways) could be, from now, a failure : it’s maybe time for a closure?…
The Big Less is about considering to close a part of you which… works. Why would you do that, like “I park it”? Why would you stop what works? You feel you miss something? It’s too easy? You reached a plateau? I works but the wrong way? You lost a goal? You need to experiment to enrich? Fresh air? You need to get smaller to go faster? A fresh start to go elsewhere? You’re afraid of some ticking-over routine? Is it a bad idea? Why?
And who knows what will happen after some years? Maybe you’ll realize you needed the big disturbance of it? Maybe a bigger room will open? A secret path will appear? Maybe you’ll make good Bach records, or trade coffee?
There are many ways to make love, and it’s interesting to watch the levers you can activate, from 0 to 100 :
Energy from 0 (cuddle and no movement) to 100 (ecstatic fast ending)
Words (from 0 – a silent intercourse, to 100 – a conversation sex session)
Time (from quicky to three-days non-stop dance)
Giving (from “I give” to “you give” and all shades between)
Tenderness (from 0 : technical ways kama sutra exploring, to 100 : eyes, words of love and attentive caresses).
I’m sure you will find dozens of others dials to watch, risky or not, with or without music, with or without light, etc : the “consenting adults” concept is very powerful, opening doors and paths and windows, destroying inner and “rules” cages.
Today I’m examining the Tenderness Agreement. It’s very soft and sweet. It can exist between husband and wife, or friends, or exes, or siblings, three people, anyone. It’s an agreement, which means you freely both DECIDE (you’re adults, right?), that it’s “only about that”.
Invent your own rules, then :
Underwear only. Skin, but no more. Spend a night together, or one hour. Whatever : you decide before. Cuddling. Caresses. Nothing more. Just being together, listening, breathing, soft caressing, no more. A night, an hour, whatever. It’s about tenderness. “I care”. There are SO MANY ways to say I love you, right? Sex without “sex”. Yessss you can.
So I go back to the levers I wrote at the beginning, and with my partner-of-tenderness (“la tendresse”, en français), we choose. Slow, no light, few words, one night, hands and kisses, keep underwear, tenderness. Then, go to bed, skin touching…
It can trigger some desire? So what? We have an agreement, right? No intercourse and no touch of some strategic places, as we said. It’s interesting. Listen to breathechanging is good. We will respect our agreement.
“Unconditional love” is a beautiful romantic story, and the idea of marriage will fascinate me forever. I am casual for so many things… I do think that some commitments need some solemnity, though.
There’s unconditional love in other places : a mother and a child, for example.
In this little text I imagine an unconditional friendship. In a life, it’s possible to meet a person so important, as a friend, that you could imagine something like a high range commitment, a bond, something so strong that it gives each other a strength – yes, it’s like a spouse who you know is here standing next to you, whatever happens.
Your believes differ? You take a big decision? You fight around ideas? Good! You can fix everything, and you will, because you know that you both dance with this strong and respectful “engagement” – you just invent it everyday, with absolute freedom, and no cage ever, inner or real.
Just google “seeking approval” to discover what you already know : this is baaad, and shame on you!
To be a normal adult shouldn’t be about doing things “just to get approved”, right? Nevertheless, some of us… do what they can.
Many Internet activities use this seek of approval motivation we all have in us, from the Facebook “likes” to the number-of-followers you are happy to have on Instagram, or on your blog.
OK, this is bad and childish and narcissistic, but it’s also incurable, deal with it! Therefore what can you do? Use it, and try to keep a little dignity. Keep your seekness invisible, or you’ll look like a duck-face “love my selfie” chick…
Seeking approval can be a source of motivation. If you work well partly because of this need, good for you! Be guilty, but not too much. Voilà!
What’s the best : a bunch of thoughtless empty “likes” from unknown people, or one smartcunning criticism from an intelligent person you love?
It’s an old tool many artists know : many constraints are fruitful. Mainly because a constraint is a problem calling for a solution, therefore you have to move, to be creative.
All jobs and activities have constraints : budget, environment, other people, time, space, your skills, your tools.
If it’s too loose, though, you feel a freedom, which can be messy. You can not catch anything. Stuck. You maybe need to tight something up, to find “your” freedom within a new frame.
Brian Eno invented the Oblique Strategies (mainly for musicians) as a card game. You pick a card and you have to obey (sometimes it’s terrible!). Some directors are well known to tell the actors to follow precisely something (the dialogs, or the places they have to move on the set, etc) before shooting. Some digital artists sometimes go out in a park with a pencil and a notebook. A photographer can go outside with the limit of 20 pictures taken, not much. And G. Perec wrote an entire book without the letter “e”.
Constraints are fruitful. You probably have many disposable levers for these. A poet can obey : write something in alexandrine; without any letter “p”, in less than 5 minutes. You may have to present a project in ONE minute only, and… with no words. What are your levers?
You can pull a lever to Zero, it’s the Total Constraint. For example, you’re a photographer and you go out without any camera. Just your eye. You’ll feel the need, you’ll feel your brain simmering. As you can only watch and… think, you’ll maybe have bursts of ideas (instead of taking pictures).
Of course it’s an example of “Amor Fati”, being content with what happens to you, even if it seems bad. Embracing fate : every constraint, if you can’t avoid it, should (and will have to) be danced with.
I never married, and I will never understand the idea of divorce, it’s like a loop in my head. Why would you ever consider to divorce… since you are married??! Isn’t marriage a commitment? Then, well, it’s exactly it : when you meet a problem, some difficulties, betrayal, whatever, you’re supposed to work on it, right? Because, well, you’re MARRIED! So yes, I realize that I’m much more solemn than I should be. Or not : I never married, after all. Voilà!
Tool : what is a commitment? As it IS a commitment, what can it bring to you? What if you feel prisoner, in a cage? What if a commitment was REALLY a commitment, which means that you can’t even have the possibility to consider there’s a way to change or cut it? Can this happen in friendship, like the “Best Friends Forever” you hear in teens’ mouths? What if it was a real commitment?