What I read

Didi-Huberman is a great thinker for images. Aperçues is a great short texts books. Full of ideas and subtleties.

A fabulous, clever book about Miles Davis. Puts me in fields I don’t know well (Jazz). Plenty of great patterns about management, intentions, creativity…

One of the many books written by C. Juliet. Diaries : introvert curious intelligent writer.

Hustvedt has a storytelling talent. Novel writer, she talks about science and psychology, about thinking living watching, mixing her life with science nuggets.

Kundera because you have to go back to him from time to time. Irony. Hair splitting cleverness.

Koolhas because architects have a great way to think about invention and civilization.

A Taschen about impressionism. Cheap and gorgeous.

Contre Culture : a dictionary of exploring ideas in culture : music arts photos…

Julie Manet wrote her diary : a teen within poets ans painters in the 19th. Just adorable.

An old French intellectual wrote a little book about how all is a failure. Obviously I had to read it.

A little book about Kupka a forgotten painter.

A ferocious mess about how the world is crazy.

A “made in Belgium” book make by a great spirit I met. Could be translated like “Fuck it I dare!”. Self help… the French way.

Finishing Manet‘s biography. The first modern painter. An infinity of great ideas and patterns.

A hungry French clever book about everything.

A great (Belgian) portal about the greatest French philosopher of the century.

Thanks for reading!

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Books on a Bench : #serveyourself #đź“š

We have more and more “BoĂ®tes Ă  dons” (donations boxes) and other Books-Boxes in the city, but I prefer give mine on bus benches, or in parks. I let a note : “Free, serve yourself”.
Usually if I have to come back there (after errands for example) I see people exploring the pile or I see… nothing.
Have a good day!
JP

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“This Author? I have everything…”

A style, a mood, a spirit, ideas : some authors are a shock. Keenness. Grasp. You’re hungry!

There are many ways and paths here.

  1. You can buy everything you find then swim into your new pool for months.
  2. You can like it so much than you keep some unreadings to keep new things for your whole life (I do this with Faulkner).
  3. You can explore it like malaria attacks, then let go (because it’s a too big continent).

William Faulkner. The Sound and the Fury has been the biggest book shock in my life. Haunting style. Liquor. Splendid.

Thomas Bernhard. Controlled methodical rage. Awesome. Unforgettable.

Anton Chekov. A doctor. The sweetest guy ever. Hilarious letters. Marvellous knowledge or human soul. Breaks your heart all the time.

Nietzsche. Toxic genius. Ideas at all stairs. Exhausting. Dense.

Paul Valéry. French genius of the highest range. The virgoest Virgo of spirits.

Ernst JĂĽnger. The Goethe of the XXth Century. Generous, paradox between German spirit and big rushes of humanity. Warrior too.

Proust (rivers of words and intelligence), Kundera (smart and cruel), Yourcenar (cold adorable genius of Belgium), Giono (superb style), Bouvier (one of the best writer/traveler).

What do they have in common too? I want to have a conversation with them…

Have a nice day!

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“And I lost my marbles” & Wonderments & Apexes : Chronicle 40

I have too many books. From time to time I choose a few ones from my shelves and I pile them on the floor next to the door. When it’s sunny and I have to go out for errands or commuting, I pick up a dozen and I let them on a bench (in a park, for buses) with a note : “Free, serve yourself”.

9hz

There’s a pattern in Anthropology. When they’re young, these students often go study a tribe in a South America forest or some Inuits village near the North Pole. And many things happen, all in this mode : “Things are not what you think they are, buddy”.

  • The people you study are studying you.
  • They use you, eventually.
  • You take notes, but you don’t understand anything.
  • You invent “intentions” where there are not.

9hz

When you like poetry you have many sources of pleasure. One is the “sudden arising of a sensation”. Poets do that. They trigger moods.

9hz

I know that this blog is about seeds and tools, OK. But the real thing is to tell that being curious is a real source of Joy. “Faire renaĂ®tre l’Ă©merveillement” :

“Make the wonderment come alive again”.

9hz

Triangle is interesting. An apex has two friends.

9hz

Okay, so you’ve got a car
That don’t impress me much

9hz

In French, to say confused or disoriented, we say “DĂ©boussolĂ©”, which I could translate like : UNCOMPASSED. Makes sense?

9hz

My good friend Lucile wrote one day :

“Le lien, le dĂ©sir, l’amour, ne sont jamais comme dans les livres – ni conformes Ă  ce qu’on nous en dit. ET ALORS ?”

“Link, desire, and love : they are nver like in the books – neither true to what we are told. SO WHAT?”

Have a nice day!

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Bidou in the past in Eliette’s room

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“What’s bitten him?”

ONE

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…

TWO

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, NapolĂ©on, 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…
  • ..

THREE

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 TolstoĂŻ, 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.

FOUR

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?

Thanks for reading!

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Two Biographies : #Manet

What’s better than a good dive into knowledge, into the life of an important artist, or character? I did it with Brahms, with Faulkner, with Chekhov, with Lincoln, Churchill…

It’s like a travel, an inner one, into history, into a life.

And of course, your choice reveals something about yourself. Why this person?

This winter, I travel with Edouard Manet, a French painter.

I use a few tricks I know.

First : two biographies.

Eric Darragon is a French Art Historian, and James Henry Rubin an American Art Teacher in the State University of New York. I am currently reading these two books at the same time…

Manet “by Zola” is a text from a writer who knew him, and L’Ĺ’uvre a novel about this period and this area (artists in Paris in XIXth Century).

I should add the souvenirs of Antonin Proust, Manet’s best friend, and probably the Manet lectures of Bourdieu, a sociologist, in the Collège de France.

I won’t and I can’t tell you why Manet. I’ll only say one aspect : he is on the fence. He’s the first modern. He’s an impressionist, but he’s not. A rebel, but not at all. And so on. It’s so amazing that I explore it very slowly.

Two good biographies is a good knack. You can do it with a battle (the D-Day?), with an event (a revolution?), with a a theme.

Choose one specialist. Then another one from the other side. Then a book from inside.

 

Thanks for reading!

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…and the “horror short stories” lost writer.

Yesterday in the bookstore I met an author, an unknown man who wrote and self-published a little book of “horror short stories”.

He asked for a book signing day.

I answered that we only do that, since a few years, for really published bigger authors, and also that he shouldn’t regret it : nobody probably would have come for him to our big store to have their book signed…

I know : not cool.

As he was talkative I suggested he asked to do this in smaller human-size bookstores, but also said that he’d probably see no line in front of the table.

We then talked about the writer’s disillusion of Level 2. The first is when he desperately want to be published. The other one is when he IS published, but nobody cares about his book.

We talked : sending his book to influencers & editors, about blogging, writing fan-fictions to get a name. We also talked about losing time – as he was – trying being a press secretary, an attachĂ©.

I have no advice to tell to writers, but this man was a bit lost, obviously. Thus I asked him :

– What do you like?
– Writing.
– What don’t you write, then?

 

Is it the good path to get published with no audience, when you write horror short stories? What for? Hoping for money? Really?

Isn’t self editing a no-man’s land between putting the text online and having your book on tables in every store?

(Well, there’s this little pride when your brother-in-law buys you one to please you…)

Or is it better to just write, develop a talent and possibilities, find your music and determine something important : are you good, or not? Do you want to sell, or do you want to be read?

What happens when you work out of your skills, just besides, where you feel lost, untalented, and bored? Do you have to recenter, or do you learn things while you do it – thinking about the time you’ll be back to what you love and where you’re good?

 

Have a nice day!

 

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