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

 

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

Don’t learn French, it’s a mess – Part 4 : Letters you don’t say

You have in English a few letters “you don’t say”, like the K in knife. If French, if you try to speak what your read, you’re dead.

We love useless letters. AND we sprinkled all this with difficulties.

We love the final useless S, and you have to say Paree for Paris (BUT you have to say it for the city of Reims). I know…

Forget the P and the S in Temps (time), and don’t say the C in Tabac (tobacco). Haut (up) is pronunced “Ho”.

Imagine you have to say “I want” : Je veux. OK, you say “Je ve”, that’s all.

“A knot”? Un nœud – just say “Un ne”.

PFfffff…

Monsieur” is worse, because… Oh forget it!

Other cities? You say all the letters of Brest, but forget the final S for Orléans or Calais, OK? Metz : says “mess”. Bruxelles? Well, some say Bruxel, some others Brussel. Rahhhh!

We don’t say the M in Automne, we don’t say the P in Compter (to count), we don’t say the D in Grand or in Dernier, or the G in Long. But we have to say it if it’s féminine : Dernière, “the feminine last”…

Yes, the genre. A car in feminine. Oh hell… that’s another article, right? 🙂

Thanks for reading! Bonne nuit !

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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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Thinker’s Diary : Words Snack

What’s near your bed?

  • A good novel you’re keenly reading every evening
  • A pile of cuddly comforting comics (Peanuts or Calvin & Hobbes)
  • A magazine in your comfort zone (movies, classical music, food, (or knives and fast cars?))

 

The “Print Disease” is when you HAVE to read what’s around

If like me you have this illness (printed words feed you), you need to have fast light things near your pillow. Like a snack of words, right? Just in case of insomnia, for example…

There are many ways to have “short things”. Very easy novels. Old comics. Archipelago philosophy. Quotes collection. Poetry. Correspondence books…

I have all these, and diaries.

Thinkers, writers, photographers, directors, politics? Many personalities wrote their diary. Sometimes it’s published, even after author’s death.

As a book unearther, I have the tendency to pick up everything diary-ish. It’s a superpower, in a way : you just open the author’s mind and see him/her think.

 

Yesterday I was with Gide (1869-1951), reading some diary pages of 1941. I found this (my translation) :

 

An opinion begins to bother me as soon as I can take advantage of it.

 

I had to stop reading, opened mouth.

“What?!”

That was obvious to me – so why being bothered by? What if he was right, and where, and how, and why? Here you go : you have two hours.

 

The danger of having words snacks near your bed (even Peanuts : Charlie Brown is a pretty good philosopher) is to find interesting things in the middle of the night. Therefore “Hello insomnia I embrace you” : you’ll never go back to sleep. So there!

 

Have a nice week-end!

Jean-Pascal

 

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An empty letter from Madagascar (Silence Treatments Types)

I keep letters (and mails). All of them. It’s like a diary. It’s like traveling in time, being in two persons’ brains, “dialog archeology”, you feel the water under the bridge, too. And if the person died, you can talk with him/her endlessly.

 

I found an old letter in which a friend told me that she dated a guy and lived a few weeks of love before breaking up, because he was too intense, toxic, and jealous. Drama! He said he would left the country to live in Madagascar, and that he will never talk to her again! Then he disappeared…

One day, years later, she got an envelope. From Madagascar. She didn’t open it : it was empty.

She wrote me about her boiling brain since : Was it a mistake? Cruelty? A symbol? A paradox (“I think of you but I won’t talk”)? A “Hello”? In fact, she was so moved that it’s been good to her. It made her think about herself, about life, about him, about moving forward, etc…

 

This kind of cruelty made me think about the concept of “Silence Treatment“.

Silence Treatment always had many faces. And even in the Eighties and before, you already could play with it :

  1. To sulk in a couple (for days, why not)
  2. To disappear without an address
  3. To commit suicide
  4. Abandoned child
  5. Quitting your best friend for ever because he/she went too far

Who does that and why? To manipulate? To forget? Protection? Cruelty? Stupidity?

 

Now we have smartphones and the Internet, tools outnumber old possibilities. You can just BLOCK someone one Facebook, Whatsapp, Skype, Email, etc… – and all pertaining games :

  • you can block the blocker, so there!
  • you can unblock someone, say something and reblock him/her (just to imagine the boiling process – which, beware could steam back… where it can).
  • you can use real mail (paper) to bypass (I love when reality hits the virtual fan!).

 

I know a friend who has been almost destroyed by a lunatic pervert (living on the other side of an ocean) who constantly contacted her, flooded her with love and promises then disappeared for months for no reason, in a loop, keeping her disarmed in a boiling despair for years.

Silence treatment is dreadful (see, I learned a new word!), and we should only use it for protection.

 

Thus I’m back thinking about the empty letter from Madagascar. As an optimist, I choose this (because I choose to think people can’t be “that” mean) : It was a way for the guy to say “I promised I won’t talk to you anymore, but here’s something to show you I think of you, though”.

Awweeeeee!…

 

Thanks for reading!

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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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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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Letters and Boxes – Hashtag “Old Times”

You write an email, it goes to Japan in one second. You can text people all around the world, you can call them, or even see them on your screen now, and talk. For HOURS. It’s free. It’s called Internet.

I was born in 1966, so when I was a young adult, say in 1986, there was no Internet. If you wanted to write to someone, you had to WRITE it, on paper, you had to POST it (should I say “ship”?). Stamp. Envelope. Write the address. You could put something in the envelope. You could perfume it. Yes you could, and you can.

Like Ernst Jünger says, “Tout gain s’accompagne d’une perte” – Every gain involves loss. At the age of Internet, we lost something about mail.

We lost the wait. The DELICIOUS and painful and exciting wait of a letter. All this implied so many things! You could write pages before you got the letter (of your lover, silly!), you could add words when you got a response, you could send a letter before you got one, inventing a double-ping-pong. It was exciting. It was BLISS.

Tools : 

Every gain involves loss. Never forget this. Apply and think to anything you find a “progress”. What did you lose, dear?

You CAN go back to old times. You love someone? As a friend? A lover? Send her a LETTER. Send a box. Send an object. A card. A symbol. Written words. Paper. Perfumed. Colored papers. Write. Draw. Add little objects. Stamps. Images. Symbols. Treasures. A petal. Do it! It’s old school? Perfect.

Think. When someone ships you something, it means something. It’s an object. It’s real. It’s life. It’s a choice. It’s out of virtuality. It’s important.

Thanks for reading!

Old Letters Old Diaries

You can choose to move forward all the time – you go girl ! – but you can sometimes slow down a bit and add something to your moveforwardice : read your old pages, some letters from the past, or your diary; watch your steps in the sand, watch your soil.

I wrote my maison-page for twelve years (it’s in French sorryyy) and from time to time, once a month maybe, I read some parts of it, randomly. Some days, I find and read all the emails I wrote “the same day but one year before”.

It’s amazing how useful it can be, at times, to read what your wrote in the past. It helps you a lot, and in many ways. The more you know your path, your soil, your roots… the more what ?

You realise things : you have a tendency to make the same mistakes, you act along patterns. Your realise that your thoughts are like seeds, or little machines : they grow, mutate, change colors. you evolved. You are not the same person anymore… but you are, though.

It’s just as simple as a chest, a safe. You can find, in a awe, some great ideas your learned in the past and forgot in the wind of the years. De bonnes idées oubliées dans le passé…

Tool : Write, and keep what you write. Letters, articles, emails, blogs and diaries. When in need, plunge down back into this shit.  You’ll be disturbed (you need to be). You’ll even discover things (like for the first time but not really, which is as good as a perfect Koan). You’ll smell your good soil and find probably some good old seeds – use them today.

If you don’t, don’t be surprised you sometimes look like a pale tree growing on some bland savourless nutritive liquid in the white tent of a greenhouse.

(oh snap I’m losing my english)

#dancing #dance #choreography #blackandwhite #instablackandwhite #monoart #trio