Proust was a blogger…

“Remembrance of things past
is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.”

― Marcel Proust

 

 

Proust is a well known French writer, renowned for his… difficult style. You’ll Google it if you want to try, OK?

Thus, in France (and probably elsewhere) you often hear this “I tried Proust, but I couldn’t finish it”, with a little funny face.

Well, OK, I never finished it either! Reading Proust is like eating a feast everyday. It’s exhausting!

  • Worse : you can not really read something else, because every writer looks like a dumb moron after Proust. Too much intelligence pulls you in an awe, where air is rare.
  • Worse : you want to grab anyone you know to scream “Read Proust, it’s amazing!”. No, come on, it’s impossible to read him.
  • Worse : Proust’s style, made of long, complex phrases, with an absolute lack of concessions (for the reader), is like dive into it, or else…

Therefore : you have to make an effort. Each time you plunge in Proust you have to. You’re like “OMG it’s dense!”, then you find the marvels. A bit like opera, you see? If you don’t make an effort, an opera is a boring story with people singing like crazy about stupid dramas. Make an effort to find your own pleasure : voices, performance, music, comparing, etc…

Once you did it, here it is : Proust is a blogger.

One day I explained it to my best friend. She was like “Meh”. OK, I said. I picked up the book, read a page (randomly), and we found an idea. So good it filled the evening in conversations.

The only secret is this : do not take it too solemnly. It’s not a cathedral. La Recherche (“In Search of the Lost Time”) is just a huge great book. If you’re bored, breathe and pass a page. YES. Go on. You’ll find emerald & pearls. It’ll kill you (it’s soo good). One day, it’s enough. Read something else.

In each page you’ll find one or more ideas. Each one could let you thinking smiling watching the sky, like “Ohh, that’s true!”.

He’s a blogger. But he’s better than you, I warn you…

 

Have a nice day!

 

“Every reader, as he reads, is actually the reader of himself. The writer’s work is only a kind of optical instrument he provides the reader so he can discern what he might never have seen in himself without this book. The reader’s recognition in himself of what the book says is the proof of the book’s truth.”
― Marcel Proust, Time Regained

 

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“Now there is one thing I can tell you: you will enjoy certain pleasures you would not fathom now. When you still had your mother you often thought of the days when you would have her no longer. Now you will often think of days past when you had her. When you are used to this horrible thing that they will forever be cast into the past, then you will gently feel her revive, returning to take her place, her entire place, beside you. At the present time, this is not yet possible. Let yourself be inert, wait till the incomprehensible power … that has broken you restores you a little, I say a little, for henceforth you will always keep something broken about you. Tell yourself this, too, for it is a kind of pleasure to know that you will never love less, that you will never be consoled, that you will constantly remember more and more.”
Marcel Proust

 

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From frowny eyes to hilarity : When you have to “find the fun” – Cioran & Bernhard

Emil Cioran was a Romanian writer and philosopher. He is famous for writing books such as The Trouble with Being Born. As you can guess, it’s very tormented and pessimistic.

William H. Gass called Cioran’s work “a philosophical romance on the modern themes of alienation, absurdity, boredom, futility, decay, the tyranny of history, the vulgarities of change, awareness as agony, reason as disease”.

Thomas Bernhard was a Austrian “novelist, playwright and poet”. His style is mainly about monologues reported to a listener (you?). It’s very intense, full of anger and a bit disturbing. His books’ titles are like Extinction or Concrete.

“Bernhard’s prose is lapidary and translucent in its vocabulary, but sinuous and formidably dense in its phrasing”.

 

Yes, you can take all this very seriously.

I’ve known a couple of young men who read Cioran as an obsession, like a Master of pessimism : “The fact that life has no meaning is a reason to live –moreover, the only one.”. And why not?

And I admit I read my first Thomas Bernhard with frowny eyes. “Very often we write down a sentence too early, then another too late; what we have to do is write it down at the proper time, otherwise it’s lost.”

 

Then… you grow up, you study the way they write (one in archipelagos, the other one in words rivers), you begin to notice their ways, their exaggerations, their… wizardry, their understanding, their contradictions.

Then you smile.

Then you LAUGH…

I agree, it’s a strange laugh. It would be a bit short to say it’s sarcastic, because it’s not. Sometimes humor sticks out with a whole harp of powers. You laugh but you think, you laugh but you sob, you laugh but you have empathy, you laugh but you’re deeply moved, you laugh and you want to get out of your house to run like hell out in the streets, full of seeds, anger, and new ideas…

You just needed to make progress until you have the capacity to “get it”.

 

Where does it happen, when you have to “find the fun”? How would you make it? When do things have like this, many doors? Why should humor move with this stick : “This is humor”?? Can (and do you need to) you invent and trace humor on something which is “obviously” not funny?

Isn’t it a lesson? Like… maybe we have to find a possible way to laugh after our months of deep despair?
Thanks for reading!

Have a nice day. Pardon my Frenchenglish, oui ?

 

Hey, it’s my article N600!

 

 

 

 

Bovary 2 #quotes

“At the bottom of her heart, however, she was waiting for something to happen. Like shipwrecked sailors, she turned despairing eyes upon the solitude of her life, seeking afar off some white sail in the mists of the horizon. She did not know what this chance would be, what wind would bring it her, towards what shore it would drive her, if it would be a shallop or a three-decker, laden with anguish or full of bliss to the portholes. But each morning, as she awoke, she hoped it would come that day; she listened to every sound, sprang up with a start, wondered that it did not come; then at sunset, always more saddened, she longed for the morrow.”
― Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

“She wanted to die, but she also wanted to live in Paris.”
― Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary

 

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Instagram : sarah_feldmann

The Queeny Syndrome, according to Houellebecq

“Physical beauty plays here exactly the same role as nobility of blood in the Ancien Régime, and the brief consciousness that they might have at adolescence of the purely accidental nature of their rank rapidly gives way among very pretty young girls to a sensation of innate, natural, and instinctive superiority, which places them completely outside, and far above, the rest of mankind. Everyone around her having as their objective to spare her all difficulties, and to satisfy the least of her desires, a very pretty young girl effortlessly comes to consider the rest of the world as made up of so many servants, herself having the sole task of maintaining her own erotic value—in the expectation of meeting a boy worthy of receiving her homage”.

Michel Houellebecq, The Possibility of an Island

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La Pléiade are great French books

The “Bibliothèque de la Pléiade” is a French series of books published by Gallimard. As says Wikipedia, the “entry into the Pléiade” is considered a major sign of recognition for an author in France (it’s pretty rare to reach this when you’re alive), though most of the catalog (more than 800 titles) is made of classics, from Jane Austen to William Faulkner, Joyce, Goethe, Kundera or Tanizaki.

La Pléiade offers high quality appearance : leather bound, gold lettering, and a small format which makes them look like small bibles. “The use of bible paper allows the books to contain a high number of pages; it is common for a Pléiade book to contain at least 1500”. I think you have a similar collection in the USA, called Library of America…

Many people collect these books, which, most of the times, are never opened. Each one costs around $70 : they stay on the shelves, sometimes behind a display case…

You can see them like precious untouched books to show you’re wealthy, or you can also choose to consider they are solid pocket practical books. I bought some on eBay for $9.99 : months of bliss! They are a bit torn, but who cares : they are compact, they smell good, they are generous, each book stays open when you let it go of, etc.

I took a few pictures. On the last one you see my pretty cool Ernst Jünger box, a diary written in France during WWII…

Have a nice day!

 

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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!

 

A woman’s hat on the table – Behaviorism in literature

In a Hemingway short story, the only visual information we have of a couple talking is that she took off her hat and put it on the table. Though, you can almost SEE them when you read the text, because of what they say.

Question :

In a book, do you prefer to read

  1. “She was sad, and about to disconnect herself from reality”
  2. An inner monologue as if she had a microphone in her head
  3. A description of her movements, her mouth, her actions

…showing her disconnected sadness.

Well it’s the same for movies. Do you want to see someone act slowly, randomly and break something, or do you prefer a narrator explaining that “This day, she was bored, sad and electric”?

“Behaviorism is a school of psychology that studies that only behavior that can be observed or measured. It does not include the study of emotions or motives”.

Of course, there are behaviorist writers, who like to SHOW what’s happening instead of EXPLAIN the psychology of characters, as if they were a god.

Tool : What could YOU do about this tool, this pattern, in another field, in poetry, photography, marketing? Show or explain? Do you consider you audience as ignorants you have to tell everything to, or do you trust their mind, their intelligence?

she took off her hat and put it on the table – what does it mean?

Thanks for reading!

 

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