Alliance

When I was 25 I talked with my friend who was 40 and she said :

“Love? It’s an everyday choice!”

What? At this young age you’re NOT ready at all to hear that, right? You think meeting, magic, bond, “the one”, etc. Choice sounds not romantic enough…

Well it’s a whole subject, you’ll find books and blog articles about that. Married couples can explain. That’s not my point.

Of course, she was right!

When I began to read the letters between Gide and Valéry, two big French intellectuals, I found this idea. These guys were very different, have very little in common, but they found a spot, a territory, and they stayed friends their whole life!

It was not about “good friendship”, best pals and laughing while having beers. It was not magic of eyes and long smiling walks. It was like some work. It was like… a choice.

They used each other.

You know me, I’m constantly flipping through many pages and many books. Today I found a chapter about Sollers and Barthes. Of course : I found the same idea, very clearly exposed : they needed each other, they ate each other twice a month, and they used each other, intensively. One published the other. The other wrote an article to defend his friend. One had more experience, but loved the rocketing ideas of his friend. Etc.

Alliance.

Explicit, and probably untold. Dance of brains. Hands given. Stairs.

I don’t know why. What I understood about love decades ago existed for friendship and I ignored it. Strange…

Have a nice day!

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Two Thinkers Letters & Friendship : #Gide & #Valéry

Some friendships don’t need any oath.

It’s just there.

These days I’m happy because I found the best thinker I could imagine.

Paul Valéry (1871-1945) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Val%C3%A9ry – a French poet, essayist and philosopher.

For me, he’s even stronger than Nietzsche!

In France, he’s known as a poet. That’s all…

Thus, I’m devouring his notebooks, his essays, his poetry : thousands of pages.

This guy is a genius! You can find his notebooks on the web. If you need seeds…

And, well, I read also books from André Gide (1869-1951) – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9_Gide

Hence, I discovered they were friends.

I just ordered and got an almost 1000 pages book of their correspondence.

I was so glad to get it! As I was opening the box tonight, I thought : “Two of the best thinkers of their time!”…

…which I found on the back cover of the book :

“This friendship is a dream come true : two of the most gifted and most clever writers of their generation met at the beginning of their careers”.

A friendship.

Nothing, absolutely nothing (they were very different) could work loose or detach this friendship.

Valéry says it’s not about literature or common or complementary tastes. It was the faculty to follow each other, to instantly adapt, to guess each other with happiness…

In an article of Le Monde, the French newspaper, I found this :

“Leur dialogue de dandys supérieurs porte sur les moyens et la manière, jamais sur les principes et les fins”.

“Their dandy dialog is always about the means and the ways, never on the principles and the ends”.

Most of you will get it, right?

 

Well, that’s all, dear. I just wanted to share!

Thanks for reading!

Jean-Pascal

 

“…and nothing is more certain than an inclination which exist in itself, without any argument, without common feelings or ideas – like with no reason”.

P. Valéry

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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 don’t manage to console someone

“Quand on ne parvient pas à consoler”, we say in French. This alone is a problem to translate. “Parvient” is from the verb “parvenir”. Dictionaries translate it with :

  • To succeed
  • To manage

But it is NOT that meaning. It is not a “success” (with what, a medal, a fanfare?) to console a crying person (it’s not fixable). And “to manage” (organize, control, etc) has little to do with listening to a terribly sad somebody.

So there’s a word lacking here. A mixed of “to reach”, “to achieve”, “to manage with invisible wills and means”, “to get through”…

 

Achieving comfort of somebody’s grief or sorrow need a whole harp : listening means, empathy, silence, freedom, focus, acceptance and maybe conversational skills…

Becoming a father I learned that children have terrible grieving moments. Despair which comes from the heart, in the deep. Kids need security, and when they are afraid to lose it, it’s terrible. It’s one great joy when you console your child, in front of a tree moving in the wind, or during a walk, or on a chair. Listen, talk, look, hug. As a mother, a father, you need to be here, and you find your own ways.

 

When I read books about self help, or psychology, or mental care, I’m always very interested by a passage or a chapter about “how to listen“. Specialists think about it very closely (maybe I’ll write about this alone, one day).

Sometimes, you don’t manage to console somebody. Grief and sorrow… Because…

  • It’s unconsolable
  • You’re not ready
  • You’re too close
  • You are tired
  • You are annoyed by it
  • You’re overwhelmed
  • You’re sad too
  • You don’t understand
  • You’re not strong enough

 

Sometimes you think you fail. Even if we can’t talk about communicating vessels, you’ll catch a part of the sadness.

Well, I think the main thing is the fact… you’re here to listen, right? If we think we didn’t manage to comfort the other one, maybe we did. A little. Because we were there.

 

Have a nice day!

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Instagram : teladipinta

The strange bliss of instant reconnection with old soulmates

I have 5 or 6 friends with whom I have rare great bursts of emails.

An ex. A penpal. Or a friend. Some of them I’ve never met – only online. For one of them, I’ve even never seen her face, not a picture, not once. We call it “The meeting of spirits”, la rencontre des esprits…

You can stop writing for YEARS, and when you talk again it’s like it stopped the day before. You know, that kind of friend. Soulmates. It can be weaved with past love, but not necessarily. This strange friendship is a treasure, a connection, a link, a bond.

That makes me think, tonight. This kind of bond is delightful, because you both KNOW. You don’t have to say, to explain. It’s just there. You understand each other : “I know you”.

No news for years, and then an email, an answer, and often a burst : five or six emails. Long letters. One skype conversation in 15 years. One phone call in a year. Immediately it climbs to a secret good place you both know. We don’t have to explain. It ours. As if a myriad of appendages were connecting to each other at fast pace.

The link can be reactivated in a second. In many ways. It can be “I need you”. It can be “I have something to tell you”. It can be “I have a problem”. It can be “What’s up dear?”. It can be “Long time no see”. It can be “You seem to need some help”. Or “I miss you”. It depends! But it’s there. Whatever happens.

My soulmates. L. O. PdP. SL. JA. L. BE. ED.

Hey! I know you’re here. You know I’m here. Thank you!

Thanks for reading!

 

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The Merciless Intimacy of Driven Conversations

Paul Valéry, in his notebooks, wrote a little paragraph about conversations.

We all know what is a good conversation, right? Valéry throws some elements, like a puzzle (each one could become an article), to understand “this” type conversation :

  1. Conversations with your own kind, your “very own kind“.
  2. It’s driven, there’s a thrust.
  3. You need a favorable evening.
  4. You drive the conversation together as far as you can.
  5. It’s a melt of hate and love, it creates a merciless intimacy.
  6. There’s a growth of mutual divination, clairvoyance.
  7. There’s a fury, a will to go faster, deeper.
  8. It’s like a fight, a chess game, intercourse, it’s like running together.
  9. It’s one proof of the existence of humanity…

 

What would you add? How is the subject of conversation chosen (or does it fall from the roof, pushed by mood, events, words)? How is it colored by wine, vodka, whatever? What would add, for this puzzle?

Thanks for reading!

JP

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Verbal Fencing : strong thumps are nothing against stingy words

A few weeks ago, sitting on a bench, I saw two male 15 years old students RUNNING from a small group sitting in a park. It was a chase!

The tall, big student caught the smart fast little one, and it began.

All cluttered with their bags, running. The tall one badly hit the small one in the back, gripped him. Shook him. Then with some judo-legged movements put him on the ground. Then put his fist against the cheek, crushing him strongly against the ground. He could have broken his teeth, because he was much stronger – and at this moment I was about to stand up and ask them to stop it. Like “Hey, calm down ,will you?”.

But they stopped. Stood up.

Then I saw something odd.

They both walked away, side by side, towards the group-with-girls. And the small guy was… like… comforting the tall one!

It’s been a little disturbing, but then the group was in the trees shade. It was a cool afternoon. Quiet. After school. All quiet.

 

I needed days to understand that all along, the small guy was the winner. He didn’t really fight back. It was NOT OK, right, I agree. Violence is bad. But I knew that the little student had triggered violence by what he said before. The other one was too kind (or too aware of the consequences of destroying his friend’s face) to really counter-attack. If you don’t have words (or the sense of repartee), you’re weak, even with muscles.

The small guy failed to regroup, to find back the tall one’s smile. “Allez, let’s be friends!”, he seemed to say with his gestures. But the tall one knew he lost. He was walking, in contained rage, with infuriated “NO. FUCK OFF” gestures.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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