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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Knacks for #creativity & Art Homework

I told my daughters a few tricks when in school they have to invent something and have no idea, in Art for example.

The first one is to play with a face. You can draw this and that, a bridge or a house or a butterfly, that’s cool, but if you take a face and make it weird, you’ll have a bigger impact. Like melting, or too big eyes, or a mouth on a forehead. It’s too easy : one day she copy-pasted her own eyes on her cheeks, 8 times like a spider, and got a 20/20 (you’d say A+ in US, I think), best note of her class.

The other trick is meta. “If you don’t know what to tell, tell about you not knowing what to tell”. So one day she had to write a story and had not clue of a beginning of any story. So she wrote something about a teen in a classroom writing a story. Then… the rest came fantastically easily.

Well, if you don’t know what you could blog about today, tell us about you about blogging, or your blank page, OK?

Thanks for reading!

 

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Pecking ways & means of apprehend a work of art

Choose a painting, a photograph, a poem, a symphony. You pay attention. But what are the ways and means of choosing, then knowing, apprehend this work of art?

I wrote an article already about the braid between reason & feeling : you can just “I like it”, or begin to dig knowledge around it, and, of course, weave both.

In French we have a verb for “to peck”, like a hen beaklooking for seeds : picorer. Then it begins to be tricky, because we made other words from it :

  • Picorer : to peck.
  • Picoreur : “the one who pecks” -> pecker.

Well, I checked, and found out that a pecker in something else, right? And that “to peck” means also to “kiss lightly”. I appreciated the English metaphors, but I’m embarrassed now to say that a way to discover art is to be a pecker!

I admire those (I call them the divers) who explore a little square. Instagrammers who takes HDR pictures of beautiful lands (or black and white portraits of homeless people in Alabama). Bloggers about vegan food or cheetah high heels. Callas (or The Beatles) only lovers. Crime novels specialists. They dig dig dig like dwarves in the mine. They’re great!

I’m a pecker (un picoreur). Let’s take a picture of the sky, then a minimalist low angled light on a roof, then a golden swan for sale on a table. Let’s listen to Puccini’s Tosca, then Brian Eno’s Apollo Atmospheres & Soundtrack, then Dave Brubeck’s Lost Waltz. Let’s read a short story of Chekhov, Calvin & Hobbes and a whole book about Duke Ellington’s life. In the same day.

I wonder if it’s linked, this way of microdiving in things, with the appetite to know “how it works”, “when it’s been composed”, “who are other artists around”, “what was he thinking at this time”, etc.

Books and the Internet : you can read about Brubeck’s life, watch an Eno interview, buy a second hand poster about Puccini’s opera.

Some will say it’s my sign : Taurus (patient, artistic, methodical) Gemini ascending (fast, curious, restless). I don’t believe in this, but it’s funny, right?

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Tool/Dial : are you a diver, or a pecker?

 

Thanks for reading!

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Undug Fields of a Second Talent

A few years ago I read a great book by Patti Smith, “Just Kids”, she was a very young woman coming to New York City at the end of the sixties, and meeting Robert Mapplethorpe. It was a surprisingly tender though intense book! There were like two creative babies.

Smith was then sure to be a poet, and Mapplethorpe a graphic artist. They had a love affair, created together “mixed arts” like little totems or dreamcatchers, and the end of the book shows three changes :

  • Smith understands she should sing her poetry
  • Mapplethorpe understands he is a good photographer
  • And that he is gay

The rest is the legend, of course.

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This article is about this mild “Wrong Way Up“, when you’re sure to be good somewhere, ignoring that your golden road is elsewhere, in another life, another art, another discipline, another field.

I remember one day a Russian instagrammer. She was pretty and her main activity was to take selfies, or posing as a model. From time to time, say 5% of her photos, she took pictures of what she saw : trees, people, skies, streets. And well, you can guess : these pictures were AMAZING. Instagram is full of good photographers, but to have a real original sense of photography, color, moods, is very rare. It was so good that I wrote her something like “Okey your body’s great, but you have a fantastic EYE for photography, do you realize it?”. She answered very kindly that it was just for fun, not her field, and that she was a model.

Curiously, I wonder about that “trait” about me. I have this blog you’re reading now (It’s really an exercise (I’m French), a therapy, a way of standing, etc), and also a casual Instagram account. Both are quite unsuccessful because I post with too much diversity.

See : Constantly Random is an Instagram Flaw.

All this is very humble, though this blog is very important for me. A friend of mine has many times tried to convince me that I should focus my energy on my pictures.

This dial is disturbing to watch. What about you? Do you have a field, undigged (OK undug) and opened to the winds? Are you too casual with a hobby you could be better at? Why would we ignore this? Who could we ask? What do we have to do to understand, to wait? To meet a revealing someone?

Thanks for reading!

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Instagram : bodylanguage

Fecundity of Limits

If you’re a creative person, you encountered the “Fecundity of Limits” concept, obviously. Fruition. I’d distinguish :

  1. the limits you choose yourself
  2. the limits given to you by someone in charge
  3. 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!

Thanks for reading! Work well! Travaillez bien !

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Mikhail Vrubel, Russian Painter

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

Vrubel (1856-1910) was a Russian Painter.

You can Google Image his name or “Михаи́л Алекса́ндрович Вру́бель” to find his work. It’s haunting, like made of scales, and it’s a perfect example, for me, or strangeization

When you encounter his work, there’s a chance your brain begins to… like… address his case. It’s a very good indication, for me!

After the picture of his Seated Demon, there’s a fragment of the right part, like it?

Thanks for reading!

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All the Buoys! When you fell from your boat…

I had a friend, she said to me one day : “I fell from horse”. It was a metaphor, of course, and I liked it. You’re stopped, hurt, maybe wounded. You have to slow down, and wait for the moment you’ll go horseback back, haha.

Well, you can try other moving devices metaphors. If you fall from a boat, it’s like more dangerous. You could drown ! And drown your sorrows in the same time…

Yeah, you need a lifebuoy. How will you do that, and what kind of buoyancy (oh this word!) do you need, little soul?

Watch, remember and think. Watch people around you, watch your past, your parents, friends, colleagues, stars : what king of lifebuoy do they use when then fall from horse into the water? From boat, sorry. Or plane?

  • Some buoys are dangerous or horrible : alcoholism, madness, pushing limits, drugs, workaholicness, hypercontrol (anorexia, orthorexia, religion).
  • Some buoys are… inner : Hope can bring some buoyancy (hope for better times?). Mindfulness can work if you can breathe (and you don’t get asleep). Quietism is cool, if you can build that state. You can call it indifference, OK. You can try!
  • Some buoys don’t work, most of them : you’ll drown. Goodbye.
  • Some buoys work for a small amount of time : shopping, getting drunk, daydreaming about happiness (or imagined bliss), sex, dancing and music listening, voilà.
  • My own buoy is to blog. I use what I see, what I read, to write. It helps me to organize my messbrain. It empties something. And it keeps me busy.

Keeping yourself busy is a good buoy. Finding a new domain to explore (learning a new language, a new art) or being creative (begin a blog, a novel, painting, photography?).

What will be YOUR buoy?

Friends are important. Some of them are sweet and clever enough to “help you with your buoyancy”. One knows how to be there, listens, avoids giving “advices” (“Smile, move on”, etc) and cares not to pierce your temporary, weak and thin buoy. One can ask about it, how you found it, how you use it, how it is important for you…

Then you eventually could go back on horse with this helping hand.

And take your orange lifebuoy off you : you don’t need this on horseback, you silly French!

PS : What if your buoy becomes permanent?

Thanks for reading!

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Instagram : let_you_sea