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 🙂

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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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Pastures New & Feathers Song : Chronicle 2

Douglas Kennedy says that there are two ways to meet tragedy. The first one is the bad luck coming from nowhere : brain cancer, car accident – among encounters with idiots and traitors. The second one is our own (and sometimes powerful) ways to make bad choices, auto-sabotages and other subtle ways of self destructing.

“Mission : not to be duped by myself” and it is easy to say : we all are, at one moment, pastures new seekers. Et donc…

I bought Libération, the newspaper, because yesterday was the first day of our new president in France. French people are funny, they already complain about this guy. They want change, but every attempt puts the whole country on strike!

Well, he’s been elected, right? He’s 39 years old and I’m 51 today, that’s a bit disturbing ! So I watch all the messy mess and I smile : people will very soon Facebook “Macron Go Away”, like with the previous president. But he won’t go away, for sure. I’d say : shut up and let him work.

I read a long interview with Ridley Scott. He talked about Francis Bacon (the painter) as an inspiration for his chest buster. He talked about The Duellists, so graphically gorgeous (after Barry Lyndon) he was accused by critics of inventing “too beautiful images”. “Fuck off”, he said : “I used no filters!”.

I remember the letters A L I E N in the movie theater when I was a student, and today I went to the cinema to watch Alien Covenant for my birthday.  In the movies I saw a blowing wink towards Giger (knowers will know) and a surprising re-creation of The Isle of the Dead, by Böcklin. If you want to play Google, you’ll learn that Giger painted his own version of the painting…

I was a very young man when I saw one of the five Böcklin versions, in le Musée d’Orsay, in Paris. I stopped in front of the gigantic painting for maybe half an hour. Tremendous shock.

Yes I found a white feather just after I bought Libération. My brain said : “??!”. Is a feather is a tool to write, or a symbol?

“The gods weave misfortunes for men, so that the generations to come will have something to sing about.” Mallarmé repeats, less beautifully, what Homer said; “tout aboutit en un livre,” everything ends up in a book. The Greeks speak of generations that will sing; Mallarmé speaks of an object, of a thing among things, a book. But the idea is the same; the idea that we are made for art, we are made for memory, we are made for poetry, or perhaps we are made for oblivion. But something remains, and that something is history or poetry, which are not essentially different.”

Jorge Luis Borges, Seven Nights

Misfortunes towards words. I know better now. Maybe.

Thanks. Good day!

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Memories of places you could have been in…

We remember places. We imagine places! We also sometimes… remember places we imagined. Not necessarily in daydreaming : it can happen in the shower, while you cook, or in a conversation. The place is suddenly there, in your mind, neat, pleasant, warm. Pang ! Voilà !

Thanks for reading! Bonne journée !

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The Castaway Syndrome

At some moments in your life, you really have the feeling that you’re “helped”. By whom, well, you will never know, silly!

If you want to spend time to figure it out, you’ll find books about that : God, your Angel, Quantum Mechanics or The Universe (please add Capitals everywhere, this is important).

For me, it’s useless to try to guess, because you will never know. Use all of it, though! Coincidences and signs, good intuitions, instinct, speed, meeting the right persons at the perfect time, this is all magic and a source of joy and amazement. Dance with them, c’est la vie !

But.

Irony of life is very powerful too. You meet the right person, but at the wrong moment. You encounter failure and betrayal, craziness, slowing downs or closed doors. Everything seems to brake. You make bad choices, you’re wrong. You probably expected too much, or in the wrong way, and life begins to slap your face and hit your skull, ouchy! Coincidences are stupidly useless, signs become dirty fuchsia feathers in a gutter.

Okeyyy so what? Your exhibition is a mess, your published book has no success at all, your future wife chose another guy, your startup starts to go down, c’est la merde, oui ?

“Time to move forward” and “Keep smiling” and “You build your own Happiness” don’t work for the moment. Try, and you’ll feel (and look) ridiculous. Insisting is wrong. Curiously, everybody “needs space” around you. And in space, nobody can hear you scream!

It’s time to wait, to park, to rest, to think. Shipwrecked, sailor! Castaway!

Find a corner. Narrow your goals. Regroup. Think without overthink. Put some puzzle pieces. Find your peace. Or scream, OK, but inside your belly. Real screams annoys everyone…

OK, in your car, on the highway : SCREAM!

Then, also, do something unusual.

Thanks for reading!

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Instagram : katrinalbertnyc

Arthur Rimbaud & Glenn Gould : The “Big Less” Temptation

Rimbaud was a French poet who had a huge influence on Arts and Literature, but stopped writing at 21. He became a merchant, mostly in Africa (in coffee trading, for example!), and died at 37.

Gould was a Canadian pianist who stopped giving concerts at the age of 31 and became an eccentric hermit in recording studios.

Different destinies, but a similar pattern : at one moment, they stopped completely something they succeeding in, they closed a door.

Rimbaud stopped writing. Many wondered why : The artist had said everything? He wanted to explore another face of his personality? He had a secret wound? Dead wordsourcespring?
Gould didn’t stop making music, but never came back playing in concert, and he explained himself about that.

I write this because I wonder if sometimes we should consider a similar flip. A combination of levers & dials, studying what’s good in our life, considering that insisting (even in different ways) could be, from now, a failure : it’s maybe time for a closure?…

 

The Big Less is about considering to close a part of you which… works. Why would you do that, like “I park it”? Why would you stop what works? You feel you miss something? It’s too easy? You reached a plateau? I works but the wrong way? You lost a goal? You need to experiment to enrich? Fresh air? You need to get smaller to go faster? A fresh start to go elsewhere? You’re afraid of some ticking-over routine? Is it a bad idea? Why?

And who knows what will happen after some years? Maybe you’ll realize you needed the big disturbance of it? Maybe a bigger room will open? A secret path will appear? Maybe you’ll make good Bach records, or trade coffee?

Have a nice day!

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Wishes, Willpower, Drive : the “I want to eat the world” state

The “I want to eat the world” state is a strange disease. I think we all cross this state at different parts of our life :

  • When you’re a teen.
  • When you’re about 20 years old.
  • When you really fall in love for the first time.
  • When you ineffectively want to express something through art or writing.
  • In midlife crisis after you watched your life and said “Now what?”.
  • Under intense boredom.

You feel FILLED of energy, wishes, willpower, drive, but there’s also a huge frustration.

This frustration comes from a powerlessness, an incapacity to find a way to unfoldblossom this strength. You want to eat the world, but how?

Because :

  • You have the drive but not the purpose or the goal.
  • You have the drive but not strength enough (or any more).
  • You have the drive but you’re stuck in the cages of your own life.
  • You don’t have enough time, or money, or anything : you lack.
  • You never find where to apply this energy.
  • Everything you try fails.
  • Your heart is burnt to the ground and your tired.
  • You feel you’d need some help, but you get zero.
  • I boils inside without any apparent way out for this steam.

So what now what? Well, nothing! Either you find, or not. Try ways to explore, to steampipework something. Begin things and watch. Ask around you. Invent goals for this energy.

If it fails, well, just watch and feel it boiling inside. That’s the acceptorian oriental way…

Thanks for reading!

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Instagram : bodylanguage