“One does not fit” & describing styles

ONE

We have a very well known writer in France named Annie Ernaux. She’s big enough to be translated in English, and I suggest you read her : you’ll learn about daily France in the second half of the XXth Century… if you find it interesting! ūüôā

They are not novels, but “autobiographical narratives”. She combines stories (her childhood, the story of her parents, who had a caf√©-grocery store. Her books are “poignant social history of a woman and of the evolving society she lived in”.

The pattern I would like to describe here is this one :

Someone describes a childhood and growing into adulthood, with a constant and growing gap between the narrator and the society or family around. One does not FIT.

TWO

It seems that we have a literary pattern here. I found it in the last Jacques Drillon‘s book. Instead of having poor parents, he had wealthy ones, but the gap was the same, if not worse : he criticizes his parent’s minds and their… mediocrity. And in fact, he is much more cruel than Ernaux!

One big best-seller book here was Edouard Louis‘s “En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule” (who is translated in English : “The End of Eddy”) – which is… an autobiographical novel about growing up gay in a working-class town in Picardy.

Same (worse) gap : a sensitive boy is pestered for years by idiot uncultivated assholes, then becomes an adult and describes this hell in a… book.

THREE

Our Pulitzer prize is called le Prix Goncourt. This year, the Prize was Leurs Enfants Après Eux, a novel about the 1990s in a working class valley in the east of France.

I talked with a bookseller colleague today about this :

She prefers an author who “describes” people with a well-made style (like Annie Ernaux, who is calm and seems to never judge) than like the Goncourt prize, where the author tries to imitate the daily dialogs¬†of people who never read, who drink too much, who watch TV all day long – which sounds vulgar and very… you know, they are our trash TV stuffed rednecks, in these books.

FOUR

If you feel the same (you’ve been raised by parent you really don’t understand), how would you write about it?

  1. Would you place yourself in a distance, well writing, describing calmly about the non-sense of your childhood life?
  2. Would you “re-create” the messy world you lived in, with all dialogs and so on, plunging the reader into your hell?

Where does this lead? What’s the best choice? How do people grow up out of this? Going away? Inner retreating?

 

Elbowing the Audience by killing the Suspension of Disbelief

Thanks for reading!

 

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Coding & Composing : What are your lost Kingdoms?

I call a Lost Kingdom an activity you loved in the past, and you don’t do anymore today.

For me it’s coding (I programmed a lot when I was maybe 15) and composing (from 20 to 25). Today, it’s over.

But :

  • In 1993 I had to learn HTML because I wanted to have a clean code for my http://www.maison-page.net – it was delightful, and I have to say I felt this really weird feeling to put on these old shoes. Coding is building something, with immediate tests and gratifications. It’s a little mathematics too. Logic. It puts your brain in a grid of logic, building, making tools. I love it so much! De facto, my page was and stays very fast. Sorry, no PHP or Java here…
  • Five years ago I bought a midi keyboard and began to work with GarageBand. It amazed me, gave me pleasure, and I composed maybe 20 or 30 new tracks. And I remember now… not the music, but the state I was in when I was working on them.

 

The idea of Lost Kingdoms leads me to this idea. Some activities push us in different states. You can play Lego, have a clever conversation for hours, write a poem, take your cam in the countryside, watch a mantis praying, build a cabin in your garden : it’s a “way of thinking”, and your brains knows and recognizes it. Your grow from this.

Lamenting on Kingdoms lost is useless, I agree. Go back to it. Or find new ones : learn an instrument, travel Italy, begin Chinese or horseback riding (question : why not simply “horse riding”??). Bake new cakes . Put your brain in new grids. It’s good, believe me.

 

Thanks for reading! Have a nice day!

 

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Instagram : teget

 

 

Proust & les Hirondelles : Chronicle 4

Absolutely no cunning could prevent a man
from being smashed against his dreams

 

I’m French, I’m sorry¬†: my english is clumsy these days…

Have you ever visited the school you were in as a very little child, now¬†you’re an adult? Among all the memories and the¬†heartbeats you feel, you also find that… everything around is very little, right? You’re taller, now… you’re different. Perspective.

Today is the “braderie” in the city of La Madeleine. We love braderies in the North of France. It’s like your US garage sales, all along some¬†streets¬†:¬†today was about 1.200 exhibitors¬†(or displayers,¬†how to say that?). I took a cool picture of motorbikes toys, you like it?

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I’ve been asked one day about my “goals in life“. I have been very disturbed by this question, which¬†is so… all about efficiency. I couldn’t think of a goal, even one. I feel like Cioran, in shock and in anger, after being asked about what he was “preparing”.¬†If a French says he has “goals” in life, he sounds ridiculously Action Man, that’s it. The idea itself is a¬†nightmare¬†– at least¬†when you’re more than 22 years old. I¬†don’t want to be efficient, I¬†just try to live, right? Dreams, maybe… Dreams, OK.

Absolutely no cunning could… etc…

I’m too lazy to find it, but the stupidest quote ever is something like “Give yourself a very high goal, then maybe you’ll reach a lower but good stage”. Of course there’s a more accurate one, saying that while you try to do that, you fail choosing the right path to achievement, you stay blind to feedbacks, etc. Typical Wrong Way Up. Well yes, these are words only, I know.

I have no goal, not one. It could be “to be happy” or “to be creative” or “to be a better human” or “to help others”, but I already failed in all these fields, obviously! And who will feed my cat, while I John Wayne?

If you want some fun, though, Google Image “Goals Quotes”. Plenty of orders in capitals. Like :¬†<<DON’T LET ANYTHING STOP YOU FROM REACHING YOUR GOAL>>. Ohlalalaa, my French eyes are hurt! I need a beer, I think.

So I found a goal : stay zen in front of bullsh*t ūüôā

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It’s when the weather change (warmer air, higher sun, sudden showers) than you can have a rush of childhood memories. Or teenhood, say. Suddenly it’s HERE, you feel the same feeling you had in your mother’s arms, or at school when you were loving some shy redhead in silence, or when you were gathering interesting rocks under open sky. The idea of memories in¬†Madeleines de Proust come from the food, but also from a smell (freshly cut grass, chocolate cake baking, little pot of white glue in kindergarten) or a sound (of swallows flying hunting between streets, or the familiar engine’s roar of you’re father’s car), but also from the light in the air, the clouds, a coming thunderstorm…

Marguerite Duras says¬†somewhere that she can NOT write if the bed is not made. Strange thing is : I never forgot that, because… that’s true.

I bought a Raymond Carver book, “The American Chekhov”, as they say. I know Carver’s work pretty well, but I never read him in English. Good exercise. I can’t resist to a blurb on a book saying “The (Italian, Canadian, whatever country you choose) Chekhov”…

They have something in common, that’s right : they watch meticulously our little renunciations, our microscopic failures, our rushes never said, our words, spoken and immediately regretted, our love silliness, our boredom. But it’s not “laments”. It’s more like : “This is it, brother human, and it not even THAT dramatic”.

I found a rose, there. Is a rose, is a rose, Mrs Stein. Look where she is (“une rose”) :

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In the shades of break-up moods, you have the yellow poison of jealousy, the dark corners of loneliness, the twinge of uncertainty and many more. The invisible bitterness of “having being loved and then not” is sometimes like swimming against¬†the¬†cold current of a long deep river.

In the shades of illness… Oh, another time, OK?

You can read books (or see a therapist, it depends on how you’re made), self help or philosophy¬†:¬†you’ll read everywhere that¬†you have to find your happiness inside you, right? Again? I “have to”? The capitalized ORDER quote is <<BE HAPPY AND SMILE>>.¬†Yes, each time, you want to punch the author in the face! Bim! Paf! Pouf!

Give birth to a dancing star from the chaos you have within

Strange star, but that¬†could be my Nietzsche¬†goal, maybe… Well, see?

Thanks for reading! Merci!

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