These are rules and ideas for Pixar writers. Couldn’t we bloggers steal something here?…
Have a nice day!
It’s snowing tonight in the North of France! I feel like a kid on my balcony in an awe (isn’t snow time in the evening a little magical?). Awe and wonder. The first thing I did is to text my two daughters (who are 16 & 19 years old now) like : “Il neige !!!!”.
Like you, “neige” (just say “nej”) is the verb (it snows) and the snow itself (la neige). Neige is a great word to hear, it’s magical. I have a friend whose cat is named Neige (Snowy, in America, right?). Instead of saying “covered with snow”, we invented : “Enneigé”. Yes : ensnowed…
Christmas is family time, and, well, it’s a sad month for me now, some days…
A funny exercise is to watch yourself with the “two facets” dial. We have many aspects, but let’s play the game of two. Your own two opposite properties.
You like to be alone AND you need your spouse around. You are creative AND you’re lazy. You’re introvert AND in some case you love to be the leader in front of a room. You’re married AND… ooops! Sorry. Too French.
There’s more that we think in this simple AND. It’s a better word than BUT. It includes this : there’s always one facet who needs attention, to grow, to be more complete. It’s one source of happiness. More : you can invent a dance between what you think are opposite qualities. You can invent a braid. A strong, powerful one.
Sometimes I open a book about coding, programming. I remember I spent a whole summer, as a teenager, to optimize a program which had to place the boats on a hit & sunk 10×10 grid. Well : I remember pretty clearly the UNIQUE state of mind which is to program. It’s a particularly strong sort of flow…
I almost got it back when I learned HTML, but nope-too-easy.
I used to make verbs from nouns, in English. I’m sorry. What do you do? I coffee.
And at night, I bed. I’m sorry.
Well, I could say “I’m going to bed” in both, hmm?
To say “To hit a snag“, we way “Tomber sur un bec” : to hit a… beak. It’s to meet an unforeseen difficulty, an “unexpected problem”, right?
I saw in English : To encounter a challenge. That’s a very positive way to say it!
Thus I wonder how it’s “heard” in America, the radioactivity of it. You hit a snag, great, you’ll unfold your powers and move forward? Or is it like in France a bit sarcastic : Haha, you hit a snag, now wait for the backlash! Bim in the nose.
We use it often when a smart-ass mister-knows-everything meets an angry little person who has none of it and has a different take. When fists fancy flying…
Yep, as a casual structuralist, a pattern digger, I like to find “what is common” between things, what is “under”. But after that, the real pleasure is in the differences…
Yesterday I wrote an “inspired” long article about Genesis and Progressive Rock. I was listening to Firth of Fifth and I was very excited.
But after finishing it, and publishing it, I stayed unsatisfied, I knew it was written in a rush, the building was not OK, something was bothering me. So I polished it endlessly, adding this, cutting that, quoting lyrics… I was like “Yes, but”.
Happily, later in the evening I had an idea to prolong it. I found tools, ideas, common patterns. Thus I fixed my article, I added a paragraph and published it.
I read over it this morning : it was all bouleshit – despite all the dressings I had added there and here. I trashed it immediately.
Every blogger knows that there are two kinds of “words horniness”.
It’s like a rush. You’re too excited, you look like a leaping mountain baby goat.
It’s really like when you have this : “Let’s pretend” and other as if games…
When you feel this little nausea after you just say with someone you “want to believe it’s true but fuck it’s really not” : “Yeah, we are strong !”, “Yeah, we will beat them all”, “Yeah, it will be simple and beautiful !”. Yeahhhh.
Every serious author knows this : you have to be cautious with “inspiration”, it can loose you into nothing.
Sloterdijk wrote : “To be sovereign is to choose what will you be overwhelmed with”, which contains the idea of sovereignty : you decide what you do with energy. You canalize it, you organize it.
Baudelaire wrote : “It is impossible for a poet not to contain within himself a critic. Therefore the reader will not be surprised that I consider the poet as the best of all critics”. This is exactly my point. Inspiration alone is nothing. You have to study and change what your write. And if you’re a genius, it’s the same!
Valéry wrote a lot about this aspect. He says that to write you have to find the “singing”, the little wind, easy to handle, the good temperature – But nervous freedom, fury or impetus are waste and loss. Stay a child, let it spurt, hear the gods, but then be a chief, take your brain, your tools, watch and clean it, build your thing. TAME.
OK, I trashed my article. But I liked it, in a way, this ugly child… Therefore, I re-published it, thanks to WordPress, in the past. November 1st. My bad.
Thanks for reading! Have a nice day!
“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,
“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
Saul Leiter (1923 – 2013) was an American photographer. He worked for fashion magazines and remained unknown until late in his life.
He photographed the streets of New York in color, when everybody considered that black & white was the only serious way to be a photographer. He captures moments, empty quiet seconds, he likes to play with frames, complex reflections, blurry lights. Each photo is charged in mood : heat, melancholy, waiting, thinking, sudden snow magic, thinking, loneliness…
Google his name! Thanks for reading/watching.
If you obey all the rules you miss all the fun.
I talked ten minutes with an old man, an organ maker. I bombed the poor man with so many questions! One was : “As the organ’s sound is made with pipes, how do you standardize the sound?”. Well it was interesting. He was really happy to tell me these things, and admitted he was writing a book. “Organs & Frigates”. Boats?? He gave me some hints :
Write a short story of a person, after a break up, who is angry to be stalked on the Internet – but he/she is not.
Similar pattern : a TV star is stuck in an elevator with another person… who never watches television and thus has NO CLUE the first one is a celebrity expecting to be recognized.
My father had a first aid certificate. He taught me that a wounded person absolutely needs a beautiful dressing, a clean and well done bandage. A real need.
“Words are nothing. Actions are everything. Don’t tell me. Show me.”
Ahhhh we like that, right? Dumbsimple and satisfying! I found another outrageous quote about that :“Don’t talk, just act. Don’t say, just show. Don’t promise, just prove”.
Blah blah blah. My sarcastic mind agrees, nods, and immediately jumps over the fence of fake simplicity to see what happens “really” in life. The facets of plain stupidity are innumerable… because :
Words are nothing? Ah lalaaaa… These motivational quotes are so moronic that I want to die. Or to hit the author on the head with a good hammer. BIM. Then I die, scouic.
Talk to your lover, silly. Don’t be that “He’s silent” type! Act when necessary. If your spouse is like “Don’t tell me show me”. Well : climb a ladder if you like…
If you hide a Family Secret, it will seep out messily and everywhere in your story…
She puts her hand on her heart, to show she is wounded
Bonne journée, messieurs dames !
I work in a bookstore. Yesterday a guy asked me where to find books about dance. I showed him a little shelf under a table.
– Ah ah, he said in a smile, well hidden, right?
– Yes, I answered, but not the way you think it is.
You can show books in a bookstore in many ways.
Yes of course, Medieval poetry, or books about dance are not in the top selling lists. But books about wedding or competitive exams training are good sells and they ARE under tables. People don’t come along in a bookstore hit uponing like “Oh, a book about how to become a customs officer, I’m suddenly interested!”. Wedding organization books are all the same : you come in order to find these. Therefore it’s not useful to put it at eye-level height. Voilà.
With this man, we talked about les dénicheurs.
A nest is called in France “un nid”. Thus “un dénicheur” is someone who removes birds (or eggs) from a nest. As it’s pretty rare to have this strange activity, for the verb “dénicher” (it could be : “To denest”), we French all understand “To hit upon”, “To unearth”.
Here we are!
In a store, are you the Mainstream Type, following marketing and medias, buying best sellers and prized titles, overpresented books under spotlights? Or are you the Unearthing Type, called also the Hit Uponer, forgotten corners prone, exploring the deserted alleys of Anthropology, International Situationism or Avant-Garde Jazz?
Probably both, right?
Thanks for reading!