“The Most Strenuous Intercourse”: Conversation

I just read a book from Michael Herr, an American writer and war correspondent, who wrote Dispatch, a great book about the Vietnam war.

He wrote a book, a “personal biography” about Stanley Kubrick. He worked for him for years as a writer (he co-wrote Full Metal Jacket).

Kubrick was exhausting, very intelligent, and constantly calling people on the phone. He was living near London but spent many hours a day talking to friends and collaborators. He stayed American all his life and stayed connected to his country all the time.

Herr writes that when Kubrick ended a conversation (called by him a “strenuous intercourse”) with you, he knew everything about what you had in your head about a subject. Devouring your brain…

  • Well, I didn’t know this word, “strenuous“, so I found: energetic, vigorous, requiring strength. Also: unremitting, dogged, tenacious. OK!
  • But “intercourse“, really? For me, it was about sex only, but I found: discussion, and this example: “The two businesses had a lot of intercourse over the years”. OKeyyyy!

I ADORE this ambiguity. If in this blog I look for structures, I can’t agree more:

A great conversation is very similar to great sex.

And it installs an “instant roof” over both persons.

  • Listening
  • Attention to the other
  • Games
  • Attempts
  • Giving
  • Deciding together
  • Ecstasy
  • Progress
  • Talking
  • Connecting
  • Intimacy
  • Exploring
  • Laughing
  • Staying silent together
  • Pauses
  • Going fast
  • Changing rhythms
  • Surprises
  • Dancing
  • Ideas
  • Segments
  • Communication
  • Learning
  • Listening!

Thanks for reading!

“Intentions and Elegance”: Overthinking about Art

I read a good book about a… harpsichord player. I found ideas. Here they are.

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The easy question is “What is it?”. Another question is “What does that mean?”, therefore “What does the artist want to say to us?”. This is a totally higher question, right? Instead of the work, you ask about the artist’s mind, and their will. Does art need a meaning, after all?

Where should we, instead of focusing of things in front of us, focus on what the maker wants?

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If you are a Bach (b 1685) specialist and you want to study or play Mozart (b 1762), you have to make a jump in time and music, and Mozart will appear very modern. But if you come from 19th Century, it will feel like a loss.

From where will you come, to study this or that?

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If you’re enthusiastic, do you master your work?

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Does elegance need the existence of another person? What about the idea telling that real elegance consists in not getting noticed. And Balzac says that to reveal some economy of means is inelegant.

It’s from Latin “elegans”: who knows how to choose.

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A pretentious simplicity, does that exist?

Goethe : When an intention is too visible, it irritates

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Who plays – and how – the tango of strength/delicacy?

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Purity of the sensation, or of the landscape?

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When you touch the harpsichord‘s key, the note appears, that simple. There’s no possibilities of ppp or fff. It’s “the note”, always the same intensity, it’s a yes or no thing.

Without any possibity of nuances, of touch, the subtleties must come from elwhere: the phrases.

Where else do we have this?

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Deep understanding” and at the same time, “spontaneity” (or precision/passion). Both. Same time.

Where? Sex? Conversation? Acting? What kind of skill is this?

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When a rule emerges, its exceptions appear at the same time.

In French: “Déroger à la règle” (The English “to contravene” and “to infringe” sound “to go against”, to fight, but the French one sounds “to take a hidden door”, to depart from, to invent my own path).

An artist who knows enough rules to depart from them: to explore/invent.

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What is a work of art with simultaneity of significations? Sorrow and courage at the same time; violence and sweetness; pride and vanity. What kind of richness is that?

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To admit” (it’s the same in French, admettre) is a curious verb: to confess, to acknowledge, to allow entry, to accept validity, to place, to permit, to conceide or recognize.

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A style emerges, how?

  1. Origin.
  2. Development.
  3. Blossoming.
  4. Refinement.
  5. Saturation.

Where? Examples?

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When can’t we prevent aggravation (or stop worsening)?

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Baudelaire: The restless crowd, whipped on by pleasure

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Do you produce differently (by other means) or something else?

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Is the existence of the past Law, or Force?

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Acknowlegment or recognition? Even gratitude, if you push?

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Which one is the most interesting? Beauty created by nature, or beauty created by men?

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Could you go that far, without the resistance of it?

Thanks for reading!

“He said this I said that” are conversation thieves, but well…

At work. Lunch time. You hear people telling things…

“He said this, then I answered that, and then he said…”. Etc.

The interlocutor nods in agreement – she/he HAS TO, right?

Because the “He said this I said that” person is a little excited by her/his report.

I don’t know exactly why, but it’s not a good sign. “He said this I said that” guys and girls are a bit boring, right? They are like… conversation thieves.

They blow their own trumpet, they’re all that.

Interlocutor? Nod please, because they need to blow it. I mean : the trumpet. They say :

– I’m great, right? I’m strong! I don’t let myself pushed around, right?

Yes! Say yes! Because… they really don’t expect you to say “No, because”!

Therefore, it’s like a game. A play. One is making as if he’s strong. Two is making as if he agrees. And we all know why people play this game : because after a moment, it’s the other’s turn. Other way round. “As for me” time.

In a way, it’s like liking someone’s happiness selfie, right?

…wounded egos has to say it…

 

A long time ago I read in a forum a woman contribution, she was angry, saying that us guys were talking about things (my guns, my knife, my car), and girls were talking about people (she said, he said). She was obviously craving conversations about ideas. But found no one. It’s a slightly very little spoonish schematic, but, well, it said something…

 

Have a nice day!

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The Merciless Intimacy of Driven Conversations

Paul Valéry, in his notebooks, wrote a little paragraph about conversations.

We all know what is a good conversation, right? Valéry throws some elements, like a puzzle (each one could become an article), to understand “this” type conversation :

  1. Conversations with your own kind, your “very own kind“.
  2. It’s driven, there’s a thrust.
  3. You need a favorable evening.
  4. You drive the conversation together as far as you can.
  5. It’s a melt of hate and love, it creates a merciless intimacy.
  6. There’s a growth of mutual divination, clairvoyance.
  7. There’s a fury, a will to go faster, deeper.
  8. It’s like a fight, a chess game, intercourse, it’s like running together.
  9. It’s one proof of the existence of humanity…

 

What would you add? How is the subject of conversation chosen (or does it fall from the roof, pushed by mood, events, words)? How is it colored by wine, vodka, whatever? What would add, for this puzzle?

Thanks for reading!

JP

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