Picasso & how to glean the best from letters.

Some Picasso‘s exes were writing him letters, sometimes daily, for years. I read that he loved these a LOT.

I’m writing an article about “Types of Muses”, idea given by his life & wives. Instead of giving a list of names with a few labels on each (intellectual/innocent, tortured/happy, silent/talkative) let’s say he met very different persons – which is common, but means maybe a lot more for a artist.

Daily stories, thoughts, attacks, melancholia, gossips, hopes or life moments, anything : Picasso opened the envelopes and loved them all with gourmandise, like love of good food, it “made his honey”, like we say in France (“Faire son miel”) : He knew how to glean the best from these letters.

Why, what for?

This leads me to some ideas or tools :

  • Keeping bonds with personalities that count.
  • A way to make excellent use of everything, extract or invent seeds of them.
  • A form of happiness – to be a “best gleaner”, a happy amor fati person, a dancer with what “comes”.
  • It also shows a strength. Knowing what he wants in his life, what he’s worth, in a way : “…but words will never break me”.
  • What would one do else with daily letters? Trash them? It’s a pressure, right? Some likes pressure from others, because it’s life?
  • Knowing that these persons think about him?
  • Simple entertainment?

 

It makes me wonder about the daily writers too :

  • Was it a promise – to keep in touch?
  • When you know you write to Picasso (even if he is your “ex”), you stand up differently, you have to be “up to the conversation partner”, which is great for steam and inspiration, of course…
  • Therefore it gives you a force, ideas, attitude, and a desire to impress, probably.
  • A displacement/substitution for love and conversation…

 

(Hmm sorry I’ll be Picasso-ed for a moment)

Thanks for reading!

JP

 

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Paul Valéry about “writing for someone”?

Why I talk to my exes

You’re great / You’re not great anymore

 

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“What do we displace, today, dear?”

There’s a French/English problem with the word “Translation” :

In English, you use the same word to translate a word (in a language to another language) AND to translate in geometry (which “moves every point of a figure or a space by the same distance in a given direction”).

In French, “to translate a word” is Traduire, and “to translate geometrically” is Translater. Which becomes for nouns : Une Traduction / Une Translation.

 

I had fun one day writing an article about concepts translations, which is, for example, to pick an architecture concept (“the door”, “the archway”) and to use it in another discipline (in poetry, in photography, or teaching).

“Displacing Concepts” : from Architecture to Poetry ?

 

I admit my brain is in some places connected like that : as soon as I notice a structure, I want to extract it and play with it around, in… another discipline.

  • The idea of verse in poetry would become interesting in photography.
  • The form “sonata” in music is maybe something in architecture.
  • Etc.

 

Today I take my magnifier and I realize we could do this “exercise” with other things than concepts.

  1. Methods
  2. Models
  3. Invention
  4. Team
  5. Supervision
  6. Training exercises types
  7. Risks
  8. Out of the box thinking
  9. Paradigm changes
  10. Etc

 

I know someone who studied how music pedagogy could be useful to language learning. That’s a fantastic idea!

Now this is a subject for an afternoon conversation, right?

If you don’t have a partner for that, read some prefaces or thinkers’ interviews, find the seeds and patterns, and apply them elsewhere.

What is impressionism (art) in teaching? What is a corridor (architecture) in marketing campaign? What is a fade to black (movie editing) in poetry? What can a street photographer bring to a lecturer? Etc.

Have fun. Thanks for reading!

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Listeners & Askers

We all know this : People listen with the intent to reply.

A few people only are able to listen carefully.

  • They have empathy
  • They think about their level of listening
  • They are clever conversationalists
  • They shut up, thus you have to keep talking
  • They are interested

It works pretty well with the “feeling” part of life, of sharing. You listen to a friend who has a problem, you listen to a colleague who needs to vent, you listen to funny things that happened to the other one.

And it’s good with the “information” part of life : to obtain information, to learn, to understand, etc…

 

But there’s another level over this “listen/shut up/be empathetic” plateau : The Listener-Asker.

No their method it’s not often found in the good old “quotes about listening” (Google them if you need).

The listener-asker has all the previous skills, and this : they’re thinkers, they’re plugged, plus they dare (and they are pleased) to ask. They ASK. They multiply ask, they take their turn, they can cut your wordflow (because it’s needed, that’s all), they can ask one targeted question, or seven, interlocked into a splendid, fastly crafted and powerful braintool, made up for you.

It’s NOT asking to know more, of for encouragements, to rekindle. It’s not!

It’s about all this at the same time : listening, processing, being empathetic (which is the power of entering into another’s personality and imaginatively experiencing his experiences) then clever-asking.

Asking, then, is a complex and strong power : by asking you show the other one you understood, you help, you deliver, you show you’re plugged, you give a hand for a birth-giving, you hold a hand, you disturb (in a good way), you maybe… make waves, yes. and you offer tools, in an unnoticed eye-sparkling smile.

 

I know, it’s probably far from what you’ll always hear about listening : “focus, be quiet and gentle”.

Also :

When an Asker meets an Asker, well, don’t even try to mess with them : they have their own planet. Let them play. They do!

 

Have a nice day!

 

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Unexpected Connections & Sparks Exchanges

ONE

Yesterday I thanked a retired man I always have good conversations with. Always curious and funny, we often have our ten minutes of jubilations, before quitting each other with a smile (and a few sparks around our heads).

You know, he replied, what we do is “Le commerce des idées” (ideas exchange) : I give you seeds and you give me seeds too.

It’s not only about sharing little ideas, but also ideas of books, movies, patterns, links (links and connections are great!). Some spirits like “the idea of getting ideas”. Exchange.

You are one of them, right?

In France we have this word, “commerce”, which means “business”, of course, and “trade”, and also “store”, but also, in a little old-fashioned way

“Madame de Sévigné conducted a vast exchange of letter” :
“Madame de Sévigné avait un grand commerce épitolaire”

TWO

While coffeing in my bed this morning I found this quote from a great French drama actor, Michel Bouquet :

“The public doesn’t come to watch you play, it comes to play with you”.

THREE – Mutually Beneficial

I hope/dream this blog acts this way for you my fellow readers!

Not only as a toolbox, a basket of gathered ideas and patterns, but also I wish it :

  1. Gives you the desire to comment, interact, begin a mutually beneficial exchange of ideas.
  2. Gives your brain a slight movement, a desire to know more, which could lead you to exploration. A map, an index, a little machine…

Thanks for reading!

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Photo : Carl Mydans

Conversation, Essays, Eyes

You’re alone in the quiet, at home. You grab a book.

If it’s a novel, it’s perfect : you get into a dream. You see things…

Tonight I wanted a conversation instead. So I picked a book from Siri Hustvedt (The Shaking Woman) and a glass of Chardonnay.

I opened the book in the middle of random (it’s something I love to do) and read great pages about how a new born baby and his mother stare at each other. This deep each other’s look means so much, so many things happen. A bond is building. An intelligence is blooming…

(I remember I did this, with Lili and Eliette, my daughters)

Hustvedt explains that if a mother talks to a baby and waits a little, the baby answers – in his own… voice.

An essay is like having a part of a conversation. The part where you just listen. Just choose your partner well! It’s OK – even if you miss the partner’s questions, the slow ping-pong of spirits.

And the eyes…

I wrote this. Now I’m back to my chair. Bidou the cat on me knees. Hi Siri!

Conversation.

Thanks for reading!

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Drawn up Ping Pong : Slow Motion Conversation

Epistolarian

If I had to give a few words to define me, epistolarian would be in the list. Letters writer lover.

Old letters are as useful as old diaries. You can find back some old ideas you forgot, you can understand where you were – therefore where you are now, etc.

A real human being never trashes informations. The past stays in the past, and it’s interesting to have maps – for example : to find new paths.

So when an epistolarian meets another epistolarian it’s blissful. It can appear in the guise of twenty pages of “this is what happened” or one email of “kind but precise questions” or just like a slow paced tennis conversation, games and smiles, what ifs and helping hands, curiosity and musics or books discoveries.

Like in tennis, it’s like having a respectful opponent who sends back the ball to challenge you. Oh OK it’s more like a dance…

It’s like a secret. It’s slow. It’s a common silence too. Written words.

Good epistolarians are rare. They have to love words, ideas, telling stories, sharing, but also the process of elaborating. And they have to like the pace of it, determined by the other responses too. It’s like a dance, I agree. A dance of spirits.

 

Sometimes we MEET someone with whom we shared letters for years. The person is likely to be very different from the Epistolarian Friend you played with before. It happened to me (almost 30 years ago). It was intense, interesting, very different, and it… supplied a great new blood to our future letters!

Epistolarians know something : No “in real life” meeting can change the person you danced with with letters. It’s the last phrase of this notebook page : “Rien ne peut changer ce que vous êtes à mes yeux” : “Nothing can change who you are in my eyes”.

 

Thanks for reading! Have a nice day!

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When you ask a stranger about your country…

When you ask a stranger about your country, you probably trigger a good conversation. Cultural differences are infinite, and an attentive person will probably be amazed by daily things you don’t notice anymore : the way people talk to each other, the way stores are organized, the houses, the sky, churches, markets, TV, the way people walk, or dress according to their age, food, car, driving manners, books’ colors.

I love this kind of conversation, mainly because it’s interesting for both camps. Your friend from abroad will, in a way, give you new eyes to see your own country. Disillusions or amazements with all the shades between, all this make you think…

Therefore you want to hear more, you both laugh and smile, you compare with what they have to say about their country. How is it different? Why? Is it good? How is the wind? The air? How do men watch women? Do people talk to each other when they wait in line? How is politeness, manners?

You will want to visit the other side, right?

But sometimes I ask too much. I’m like “Hey hello! Do you like it here? What did you notice?”, and I get “Nathing. Everything’s normal. It’s cool”. Well. OK!

Have a nice trip!

Have a nice day! Bonne journée !

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Isn’t there a little tool here? When and where, in our lives, would we need to have “fresh eyes”? How can we get that? Alone or with a friend who’d play the stranger? Why do I think about the frog in boiling water?…

“Please glance and tell what you see…”

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