“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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The courage to shatterbreak what’s crackweakening : Chronicle 19

Puritanism. The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.

H. L. Mencken

 

Le courage de briser ce qui commence à se fêler : The courage to shatterbreak what’s crackweakening.

 

We have a French word between to break and to shatter : briser. So I’ll say shatterbreak, voilà. Briser is often used for glass, but also for the silence : We don’t say “casser le silence” (to break the silence), but “briser le silence”. More : “des bris de verre” are little pieces of broken glass. It seems that in English, “broken glass” contains “little pieces” of broken glass.

I know, split hairs… in four.

 

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There are two types of spouse : those who say nice things about their spouse in public, and those who denigrate him/her there.

 

It’s a clear splendid day of November and you have two kids. Do you go downtown in toy stores to hear your kids screaming asking and yelling at you to buy this and that, or do you go playing in the sun, watch them running under trees and hitting piles of dead leaves?

 

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Idea for a story beginning : a TV star meets someone who NEVER watches TV (he doesn’t even own one), who therefore doesn’t recognize him/her.

 

Lures. What kind? What for? Made by who? Oneself?

 

Have a nice week end!

 

JP

 

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It’s fall! Listen to Brahms! Or Takemitsu…

 

Dare to listen to this really?

 

 

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.” >>

 

 

“Perhaps the most devastating and damaging thing that can happen to someone is to fail to fulfill his potential” – E. T. Hall

“Perhaps the most devastating and damaging thing that can happen to someone is to fail to fulfill his potential. A kind of gnawing emptiness, longing, frustration, and displaced anger overwhelms people when this occurs. Whether the anger is turned inward on the self, or outward towards others, dreadful destruction results.”

Edward T. Hall

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