As I write in another language I have to think about questions like :
“What’s the différence between To overcome and To surmount?”
I chose surmount, then I have a problem with “To engulf”. I want to translate “L’engloutissement”.
Of course engloutir/engulf means like in English “to swallow entirely”, but it’s differently charged.
I saw “engulfed by flames”, which makes sense, but in French it’s more about… water. The Engulfed Cathedral is a piano piece by Claude Debussy. Englouti means devoured by water (not and never by flames, for example).
Novel writers have often the problem to solve : to surmount an influence. All the shades of influence, from the master you read a lot in your life to the big shock of discovering a genius.
William Faulkner, Marguerite Duras or Thomas Bernhard are examples of big styles you have to overcome.
You have weapon of choice : you can stop reading this author, trash the books and mourn over for a while, or you can fight fire with fire (and words with words) : write your own book in this not-your-style style, hoping it’ll empty you.
Then you’ll swim in another water : YOURS.
If you don’t do that, you’ll be engulfed, so there.
As a father and a reader, I discovered very early that one of the deep primitive danger for a child is to be engulfed in her/his mother’s love.
Mother and baby, it’s a fusion, right? The baby opens to her/his mother, and so does she. They just… merge.
The father, then, has the role to take the kid outside this bubble. From time to time, come with me, boy, let’s watch the world!
It is one way, maybe, to surmount the engulfment of a kid in her/his mother’s love…
I think it happens with other people, with love. Friendship Engulfment or Sisterly Engulfment or Marital Engulfment as a possible danger.
There, you’re not… swallowed by the other (though I think it can happen, with controlling people), but by the relation itself.
What do you need to overcome this? A third person to show you paths of the world and the joy of exploration? Fight the bore with the bore, draining it until the ground?
Surmounting Influence is a pattern to watch.
Thanks for reading!
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