Obliged Flowers

I know an horrible real story :

On Christmas morning, the 25th, near Orléans, France, a family awakes. The little kids want to go see under the Christmas tree to find out what Santa brought them!

They find the presents but the father is not in the house. They check the whole house. No dad. They found his body hanged to the tree, in the garden, in the mist of the morning. He committed suicide in the night.

Since I heard this story, which is a true one, I always think about these kids when it’s Christmas. About their devastation, and then, along life, about their mood when Christmas comes.

Less gross, I have this pattern in my head, always :

When it’s party day, I can’t not think about people who dislike it. Christmas can be a day of mourning or loneliness, and Saint Valentine’s day can be a terrible thing for people who are alone, who lost someone, because of bereavement or break-up.

There are also people who just dislike it. For years I hated the oceans of sweetness, colors and musics of Xmas… until I got my kids.

Personally, I won’t queue with my fiancée in restaurants among billions of other couples because “it’s the day I should do it”. I’ll cook, instead. We both prefer that. Nobody’s obliged, right? It’s just that I feel the business around…

I offer flowers in other days.

Thanks for reading!

The Happy Lonely Christmas Liars

Trente Parke

Cut flowers are dying.
A bunch of tulips is an agony.

Raoul Hynckes – Dutch/Belgian painter

Raoul Hynckes (1893-1973) was a Dutch/Belgian painter. Long life, different styles! Impressionism, still lifes, and then “this” realism I love so much : trying to capture the soul or the moment of a place. Yes, like Stephen Shore did at times in the USA…

There’s nobody, only places. These places say something, right? I love his sunny/shade work…


Have a nice day!















Chipping off prone varnish of Civilization

This night I dreamed of a street. It looked like a Japanese suburb. In a quiet evening, I was with my family outside, behind the house. Kids were playing in the garden, though night had fallen already.

Then something happened, far in the city. We heard screams in the distance. Then some people, more and more people began to pass in front of the house. I was watching them from my porch. They were worried, like fleeing something.

I stood up, listening to the night, on the look out for clues. I heard more screams, more people, like a river. I heard someone saying : “People are really fighting over there, phewww!”.

I grabbed the kids, my wife : “Hop hop! Everyone inside!”. Then… I woke up, in a grey mood, with this word in my head : “Varnish“.


Civilization as a “varnish over something” is a classic metaphor. Depends on what you think about : over opaque nature, over barbarism of men, over… absurdity?

Fragile varnish, chipping off prone.

Well, cities can burn, wars and earthquakes – or revolutions – can fracture the skeleton of social structures enough to push entire counties to different strange Middle Ages.

It’s probably why many humans are fascinated by “after the bomb” or epidemic (or zombie) movies, when one or a little group of humans has to gather to protect themselves against… something.

As a bookseller I see that many people buy books about survivalism. How do you do when there’s no electricity anymore?


Social collapse can also lead to other things.

When the Russians arrived in Berlin in 1945, it was about another kind of survivalism. German people (mostly women, kids and old people) had to find food, water… and find hideouts not to be raped… For months.


Isn’t our health a similar varnish? We move forward, full of trust, until…


OK. How will I finish this article? A boring “Don’t take things too seriously” quote? I don’t think so. No, let’s BE serious. One day, we will maybe HAVE to be seriously serious.

No : let’s invent a meta-story full of paradoxes and lessons. Oui ?


An author lives with wife and kids in a wealthy neighborhood. He writes a novel about a family trying to survive after a nuclear war (no electricity, fires, looters, violent riots, nuclear winter coming).
Our guy has fun and makes progress in his writing, but a REAL terrible earthquake happens, destroying 80% of his city. Chaos ensues (no electricity, fires, looters, no more police or hospitals, etc). Confrontation between his ideas for the book and… reality.

You have a week.

Have a great day!


PS : In my dream, should I have had taken my family out of my house, or was it a good idea to hide inside?


Aujourd’hui c’est gris / Today it’s grey

In English, to be sad is to feel blue, which is a bit strange. Blue is the blue sky ! In France, we say : “Je vois la vie en gris aujourd’hui” – I see my life in grey today.

This morning the sky was grey, a still blanketlid of grey. My mood was grey : I smiled and said “Aujourd’hui c’est gris !”, today’s grey. So I chose grey clothes and I’m writing this with my cat Bidou on my knees, listening to…

On YouTube I searched “Hindemith Langsam” (try !) but I picked, at the end, the Apollo of Stravinsky. It’s, say, velvet grey, elegant, a standing up melancholia.

When you feel blue, you can fight it with orange and yellow colors, and listen to Cuban happy trumpetting shit, OR you can sit in front of the window, near the rain, watching the grey, listening to some Satie. It depends on how you’re made, inside.

If today I had to compose a piano piece, I’d call it “I miss you, Swanny”; it would be Satiesque – with a veil, behind, like these clouds under.

Lever : Choose your weapon ! When you’re in a blue mood, what’s effective ? To sing a fake happiness on tropical dances, or try to hold your shit to slowly stand up ?