Casting Imagination : “What do you need to see?”

“Let us leave pretty women to men with no imagination.”, said Proust. , a little quote that made me smile, thus I posted it in my last Chronicle.

 

Yesterday I found and read a Stanley Kubrick interview. He was told : “In all your castings choices, the most surprising is Ryan O’Neal in Barry Lyndon. Suddenly, everybody realized : “Oh, well : he’s a good actor”.”

And indeed, one needed imagination to cast O’Neal in this role. It’s so disturbing to see this Californian former boxer playing this 18th-century Irish opportunist! And the film is gorgeous.

I think of a similar pattern in another movie : when Visconti casted Burt Lancaster – former acrobat, pirate or cow-boy actor –  to play a Sicily Prince in The Leopard!

 

Proust, Kubrick, Visconti : it’s the story of imagination. And it’s probably a little tool, right?

If you have to hire people and build a team, do you pick “the best” from all logical reasons, or to you think it’d be cool or useful to have some… imagination?

This could lead to other articles, right? What brings someone who has no experience, or not in this “field”? Why would we need sometimes to look “not under the light”, but elsewhere too?

It becomes one question :

What do you need to see… to see that other people don’t see?

 

Have a nice day!

 

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Proust was a blogger…

“Remembrance of things past
is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.”

― Marcel Proust

 

 

Proust is a well known French writer, renowned for his… difficult style. You’ll Google it if you want to try, OK?

Thus, in France (and probably elsewhere) you often hear this “I tried Proust, but I couldn’t finish it”, with a little funny face.

Well, OK, I never finished it either! Reading Proust is like eating a feast everyday. It’s exhausting!

  • Worse : you can not really read something else, because every writer looks like a dumb moron after Proust. Too much intelligence pulls you in an awe, where air is rare.
  • Worse : you want to grab anyone you know to scream “Read Proust, it’s amazing!”. No, come on, it’s impossible to read him.
  • Worse : Proust’s style, made of long, complex phrases, with an absolute lack of concessions (for the reader), is like dive into it, or else…

Therefore : you have to make an effort. Each time you plunge in Proust you have to. You’re like “OMG it’s dense!”, then you find the marvels. A bit like opera, you see? If you don’t make an effort, an opera is a boring story with people singing like crazy about stupid dramas. Make an effort to find your own pleasure : voices, performance, music, comparing, etc…

Once you did it, here it is : Proust is a blogger.

One day I explained it to my best friend. She was like “Meh”. OK, I said. I picked up the book, read a page (randomly), and we found an idea. So good it filled the evening in conversations.

The only secret is this : do not take it too solemnly. It’s not a cathedral. La Recherche (“In Search of the Lost Time”) is just a huge great book. If you’re bored, breathe and pass a page. YES. Go on. You’ll find emerald & pearls. It’ll kill you (it’s soo good). One day, it’s enough. Read something else.

In each page you’ll find one or more ideas. Each one could let you thinking smiling watching the sky, like “Ohh, that’s true!”.

He’s a blogger. But he’s better than you, I warn you…

 

Have a nice day!

 

“Every reader, as he reads, is actually the reader of himself. The writer’s work is only a kind of optical instrument he provides the reader so he can discern what he might never have seen in himself without this book. The reader’s recognition in himself of what the book says is the proof of the book’s truth.”
― Marcel Proust, Time Regained

 

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“Now there is one thing I can tell you: you will enjoy certain pleasures you would not fathom now. When you still had your mother you often thought of the days when you would have her no longer. Now you will often think of days past when you had her. When you are used to this horrible thing that they will forever be cast into the past, then you will gently feel her revive, returning to take her place, her entire place, beside you. At the present time, this is not yet possible. Let yourself be inert, wait till the incomprehensible power … that has broken you restores you a little, I say a little, for henceforth you will always keep something broken about you. Tell yourself this, too, for it is a kind of pleasure to know that you will never love less, that you will never be consoled, that you will constantly remember more and more.”
Marcel Proust

 

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“Museums are dwellings that house only thoughts” – Proust on Rembrandt

“Museums are dwellings that house only thoughts”, wrote Proust in a little essay about Rembrandt, paintings and museums.

You’ll find the book if you need it. Here’s in brief what he says :

People go visit museums (ex : Rembrandt), they see paintings : horses, ladies, a necklace, a window, a light, a tree, etc… Like a list of elements, in line. Then they… notice some links between Rembrandt’s paintings. Textures, common elements, moods, colors he used…

But at one moment Proust says that a walk in a museum is interesting for a thinker only if suddenly he has an idea – which seems a rich one, and would likely engender richer other ones…

 

Tool : What do you think? Should Art be appreciated “as it is”, for pleasure? Or should it be analyzed, to maybe trigger you own ideas? Is it utilitarian? What would it be bad?

 

“…comme une promenade dans un musée n’aura d’intérêt véritable pour un penseur que quand en aura d’un coup jailli une de ces idées qui aussitôt lui paraissent riches et susceptibles d’en engendrer d’autres précieuses”.

Thanks for reading!

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Proust : “Beautiful books are written in a kind of foreign language”

“Beautiful books are written in a kind of foreign language”.

 

Isn’t it true? What about other textfields? Articles? Theater plays? Dialogs in a movie? Blogs?

It’s about style, but not only. It’s about strangeization (adding little strange elements in the words flow to raise the reader’s eyebrows) but not only.

 

I blogged for eight years in French, and then now I write in English, precisely because it’s not my native language. I have to stay simple, to let go, I have to admit I’m not skilled enough to write as I would have liked to. I wrote an article about it : Writing in another language.

…until I realized it can be pleasant or funny for English readspeakers to read my warped little articles here :

  1. I make mistakes (I’m sorry for that!)
  2. I make mistakes on purpose
  3. I add French words in the phrases (so there), et voilà !
  4. I often hesitate between two words and then I aggregate them in a forfun way…

 

But I think Proust says more. I like this idea of inventing a slightly weird style in your own native language, when you write. This is a little string in the harp of writing creativity, I agree, but to me it’s an important string.

When I discover a new blog, I explore the ideas it presents, of course, but I really LOVE to find little leaning elements, the raising eyebrows kind…

written in a kind of foreign language

Yes sometimes it goes a bit far. I remember my shock when I began to read Faulkner, with his risky unpunctuated flows of conscience pages. Or Joyce, of course.

 

In France, the infinite, complex and delicious pages of Marcel Proust, the false spoken style of Céline, the gorgeous style of Colette or Jean Giono, the toxic pleasures of Marguerite Duras. I’m French. I read them in an awe, surprised and amazed by how they dare to write.

I do wonder how translators try to… transmit this in English!

 

Tools :

Is it a tool? Do you think about it when you write? How?

 

I could hands can see cooling fingers invisible swan-throat where less than Moses rod the glass touch tentative not to drumming lean cool throat drumming cooling the metal the glass full overfull cooling the glass the fingers flushing sleep leaving the taste of dampened sleep in the long silence of the throat I returned up the corridor, waking the lost feet in whispering battalions in the silence, into the gasoline, the watch telling its furious lie on the dark table.

Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury

 

(yes it’s about a guy in the night searching of the carafe of water in darkness)

 

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<< Virginia Woolf would sit down to thank a friend for sending her a slab of nougat from Saint-Tropez, but, put in mind of France by the package, she soon found herself talking only of the novel. “My great adventure is really Proust,” she wrote, “I am in a state of amazement; as if a miracle were being done before my eyes. How, at last, has someone solidified what has always escaped—and made it too into this beautiful and perfectly enduring substance? One has to put the book down and gasp. The pleasure becomes physical—like sun and wine and grapes and perfect serenity and intense vitality combined.” >>

 

 

Are Bloggers Proustians?

We’re all the same, us bloggers. One day we ask ourselves : “WHY do I blog?”

You can read this article about it : Why do you blog?.

…my theory was that you blog because you want to be loved…

But tonight I think about Proust and La Recherche.

In his long suite of books (“In search of the lost time”), the narrator, little by little, realizes that he has to remember, that memory in important, that he has to WRITE… the book we just read.

Clever loop, right?

I’d like to add this paragraph from Wikipedia :

Gilles Deleuze believed that the focus of Proust was not memory and the past but the narrator’s learning the use of “signs” to understand and communicate ultimate reality, thereby becoming an artist. While Proust was bitterly aware of the experience of loss and exclusion—loss of loved ones, loss of affection, friendship and innocent joy, which are dramatized in the novel through recurrent jealousy, betrayal and the death of loved ones—his response to this was that the work of art can recapture the lost and thus save it from destruction, at least in our minds.

(I bolded the bolded…)

Let’s get to my point : Bloggers are Proustians.

If you consistently write and publish, it’s to be loved (that’s OK, dear), but also maybe to… remember.

To remember what? What you’ve been thinking at? What you ARE? Who you’re becoming? To remember that you like to share?

What?? You would blog because… you blog? Just because you feel you have to?

Nope. Maybe you blog to understand WHY you want to blog…

Clever loop. Proustian. QED.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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Non Finito : Inchoateness in #Art

There’s a Wikipedia page about sculpture : Non Finito. We could begin with this.

Non finito is a sculpting technique meaning that the work is unfinished. Italian in origin, it literally means “not finished”. Non finito sculptures appear unfinished because the artist only sculpts part of the block, the figure sometimes appearing to be stuck within the block of material.

An unfinished piece of Art can be caused by the death of the artist, obviously, but now it’s also an esthetics purpose. You can imagine many ways of reading it :

  • Showing you a little of the act of creation
  • A failure, fatigue
  • No more money/no more inspiration
  • A refusal to decide it is “done”
  • A way to say it could be improved indefinitely
  • Impossibility to find perfection
  • Something finished or “too beautiful” is exhausting, disagreeable
  • It makes the audience think and wander within the “what could have happened”

 

In some fields, the “never finished” thing is constant : there are, for example, no finished Cathedrals in France. And I should explore it about Orson Welles, for example, who constantly seemed to be away and off with the idea of finishing and editing a movie.

Of course, there are problems with that concept. The “unfinished” thing can make the artist appear as a smart-ass doing is “non finito” thing. If it’s a trend to do this, what’s the point?

“This can be finished later” : some composers (or theater plays writers) constantly work on their stuff, and Proust, the French writer, is well known for his “quillings” : he added and added hundreds of little papers, adding fragments of texts to the existing text, and, as says Wikipedia : Proust died before he was able to complete his revision of the drafts and proofs of the final volumes.

In fact, it’s difficult for an artist to know, therefore to decide, when a piece of art is DONE. Some artists, like the painter Turner, decided to come back to work after a long time, and to put it further. Thus, you can finish is… many times.

Of course, this makes you think about the way it’s done. You can work back on a poem, even on a movie, but it’s harder to do it on an album – I read an interview of Peter Gabriel who was telling that he would love to redo some of his CDs. It can be remixed, remastered, but the record companies would unlikely allow him to change them really.

Mike Oldfield did it with Tubular Bells. He said in an hilarious interview that the original album was full of mistakes and flaws, so he redid it completely with a perfect sound and digital recording. Decades after the 1973 one, the new version was a success, but after a few months, the good old one was back on the shelves…

Tools & Dials :

What about YOUR art? How do you blog? How do you write? When do you know it’s over? Do you ask someone? Do you think about it if you paint?

Thanks for reading!

(So sorry for my bad English)

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Instagram : pleasesoft

 

 

 

 

 

“This” Tropism : what you read understands you

The King of Kings of the world, for this, is Marcel Proust.

Buy, one day, a good translation of “A la Recherche du Temps Perdu” (In Search of Lost Time). If you want to explore Proust, buy first How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain De Botton, it’s a really great book, and a great key to this author. Buy it for your birthday! Say it’s from Jean-Pascal, OK?

I try, here, next to my little tools, to talk about “very little movements of the minds”, what we call here “Tropismes”.

There is ONE tropism you know pretty well, you blog reader, it’s this one :

When you read an article and you jump off you chair saying : “It’s true! I feel that too! Never seen it written though!”.

It’s lovely to suddenly see someone who struggles with the same tiny mind movements as you, right?

Someone wrote one day that

We read to know we’re not alone

Isn’t it true?

 

Jean-Pascal

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