Writing forestalls us

I just found this concept in a book written by a singer, Dominique A. He writes his songs, and he knows what every writer knows : L’écriture nous devance…

Writing forestalls us

What you write becomes a text. This text knows things you don’t know. It’s ahead.

How does it work? Do you have an idea?

(Because it’s true, right?)

Prescience? Does the fact of writing activate something? Does the writing process use some parts of our brain who… know things?

Did it happen to you?

 

Thanks for reading!

dominique-a-mes-chansons-me-donnent-le-sentiment-d-etre-une-meilleure-personne,M29509.jpg

 

 

 

Advertisements

Paul Valéry with Stendhal : Shunning the poetic style & Unreached cruxes

Let’s listen and daydream with Paul Valéry‘s seeds (sorry for my English, it’s pretty hard to translate this sharp spirit)…

ooo

“Mais la vérité et la vie sont désordre; les filiations et les parentés qui ne sont pas surprenantes ne sont pas réelles”.

“But the truth and the life are messy; the filiations and the kinships which are not surprising are not real”.

ooo

List of what Stendhal hated the most in his life :

…pettiness, absence of all whims, terror of opinion, terror of loving what we love, traditions, the little city, the local vanity, inflicted mediocrity…

ooo

“Spéculation sur le lecteur futur” : Speculation on the future reader

…is maybe what bloggers do, hmm? I’m not really read now but one day I will…

Something in the way we write (dry, fast, casual) implying an unknown person who will read it one day…

Paul Valéry about “writing for someone”?

ooo

About Stendhal’s style :

  1. Negligences, the willpower of negligence, disdain of all formal qualities of style.
  2. Diverse pillagings and quantities of plagiarisms : the essential for the accused is to become infinitely more interesting than his victims – “from other’s bleak possessions, he rebuilds work one can read, because it’s weaved with a certain tone.”

Oohhh that’s baaaad, right?

ooo

  • “Fuir le style poetique, et faire sentir qu’on le fuit”
  • “To shun the poetic style, and make feel that we shun it”

ooo

“Nous savons bien qu’on ne se dévoile que pour quelque effet”

“We know well that we unveil ourselves only for some effect”

ooo

There are two ways to falsify : to embellish, and the application to sound true.

ooo

“La confidence songe toujours à la gloire, au scandale, à l’excuse, à la propagande”

“A confidence always dreams for glory, scandal, excuse, or propaganda”

ooo

Fears : fictional and wished

ooo

The “worse” is the food of critical temperaments

ooo

Those who want to detect, define and administer the whole social filth

“Toutes les fois que nous accusons et que nous jugeons, le fond n’est pas atteint”

“Each time we accuse and judge, the crux is not reached”

ooo

To live. To appeal. To be loved. To love. To write. Not to be duped. To be myself. To achieve…

ooo

Hmm : pick one, write an article, OK?

Have a nice day!

quote-the-shepherd-always-tries-to-persuade-the-sheep-that-their-interests-and-his-own-are-stendhal-28-26-01.jpg

The Cahiers/Notebooks of Paul Valéry are a unique form of writing. They reveal Valéry as one of the most radical and creative minds of the twentieth century, encompassing a wide range of investigation into all spheres of human activity. His work explores the arts, the sciences, philosophy, history and politics, investigating linguistic, psychological and social issues, all linked to the central questions, relentlessly posed: ‘what is the human mind and how does it work?’, ‘what is the potential of thought and what are its limits?’

“One does not fit” & describing styles

ONE

We have a very well known writer in France named Annie Ernaux. She’s big enough to be translated in English, and I suggest you read her : you’ll learn about daily France in the second half of the XXth Century… if you find it interesting! 🙂

They are not novels, but “autobiographical narratives”. She combines stories (her childhood, the story of her parents, who had a café-grocery store. Her books are “poignant social history of a woman and of the evolving society she lived in”.

The pattern I would like to describe here is this one :

Someone describes a childhood and growing into adulthood, with a constant and growing gap between the narrator and the society or family around. One does not FIT.

TWO

It seems that we have a literary pattern here. I found it in the last Jacques Drillon‘s book. Instead of having poor parents, he had wealthy ones, but the gap was the same, if not worse : he criticizes his parent’s minds and their… mediocrity. And in fact, he is much more cruel than Ernaux!

One big best-seller book here was Edouard Louis‘s “En finir avec Eddy Bellegueule” (who is translated in English : “The End of Eddy”) – which is… an autobiographical novel about growing up gay in a working-class town in Picardy.

Same (worse) gap : a sensitive boy is pestered for years by idiot uncultivated assholes, then becomes an adult and describes this hell in a… book.

THREE

Our Pulitzer prize is called le Prix Goncourt. This year, the Prize was Leurs Enfants Après Eux, a novel about the 1990s in a working class valley in the east of France.

I talked with a bookseller colleague today about this :

She prefers an author who “describes” people with a well-made style (like Annie Ernaux, who is calm and seems to never judge) than like the Goncourt prize, where the author tries to imitate the daily dialogs of people who never read, who drink too much, who watch TV all day long – which sounds vulgar and very… you know, they are our trash TV stuffed rednecks, in these books.

FOUR

If you feel the same (you’ve been raised by parent you really don’t understand), how would you write about it?

  1. Would you place yourself in a distance, well writing, describing calmly about the non-sense of your childhood life?
  2. Would you “re-create” the messy world you lived in, with all dialogs and so on, plunging the reader into your hell?

Where does this lead? What’s the best choice? How do people grow up out of this? Going away? Inner retreating?

 

Elbowing the Audience by killing the Suspension of Disbelief

Thanks for reading!

 

IMG_0700b.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Words, loops, and Picasso

Yeyyy I bought a new book about Picasso. Like Manet, Valéry, Chekhov, Mahler or Faulkner. Little feasts. Emerald and pearls. Each time.

Why would I quit good guys like these, even if some are real toxic (Faulkner is so great that it kills me, Picasso is too prolific and multiple, Mahler too difficult, too subtle, Valéry impossibly clever)? I won’t. I’m hungry all the time – and to be disturbed is interesting!

These artists (and the books about them) made like… a free reservoir of ideas! In a way, this is generous, right?…

For an example, I chose here… Picasso, found a pattern, a seed to think about.

Watch this : when he was 15 he painted the church scene, at 19 the second one, at 21 he painted the blue one, at 26 the lady with the fan, the cubist mandolin at 29, and the running ladies at 31 years old. And he lived 91 years!

One of the funny magnifier to use with art is progress. We see here a man being a great artist as a teen, learning how to forget how to paint, to use his mood (sad blue), influences (African masks), analysis (deconstructing with cubism), then here… going back to representing things, but in another way : joyously, with exaggeration of gestures and bodies, with a clever way to be childish too.

Picasso always said he spent his life to unlearn how to draw.

I wanted to write an article about this structure :

Once you navigated into avant-garde, how do you come back to good old forms? I mean HOW? With a new freedom? Casualness? Science?

Life?

Why would you do that? A restart? A milestone? A pause? (It’s an article, right?)

Where do you see this pattern? In music? In cinema? Teaching? Learning? Writing?

What’s the structure? Pushing a lever then pulling it back? Taking risks then no more?

What kind of a LOOP (quit academicism, go back to it with something else. What?) is it? What are loops (oh, another article!)?

I like to read about Art, maybe more than watching it. Maybe yeah I’m an astronomer, not an astronaut… I love to talk about all these. Sometimes I have The Rilke Syndrome – Familiarity Problem.

OK I’m sorry. This is not an article, this is a mess. Sharing brings joy. Now I go back to my book. Or to Mike Oldfield’s Amarok (oh, another article!).

To your good health!

Thanks for reading.

176694

“Filled Flat Storage Space”, a story to write

I had a dream, it could be a beginning.

I’m a woman in a yellow room of an hospital or asylum. I’m locked with two other women with no importance.

A visitor comes, a woman too, who brings me a couple devices : strange spectacles with a blocked (but removable) eye, a blazing metallic spiral. I’m very interested in those.

These are things she brought me to “make me think”. As if I was desperately hungry of “things to think about”.

She was also talking to me in a mysterious and smiling way, giving me ideas to munch, as gifts.

Then I had the sight of a row of notebooks, on a shelf.

In a way, thanks to this friend from the outside world, I get ideas, I munch’em, and transform them into words.

 

What do we do with this? A strategy to escape the asylum? Or like in Silence of the Lambs, does the friend use me to investigate on complex things? What happens when one day she doesn’t come anymore? What are these devices? Who were these persons before the locking up?

Thanks for reading! Have fun!

 

 

 

b08bc56e568253ea07c83cdaa7a75650.jpg

Tropes & Clichés and other blocks of storytelling

I write this because I believe that English uses the word “trope” in a different way than in French. It’s a rare word here, and I had to check in dictionaries to understand it.

I hear that in the world of telling stories, a trope is like a “little structure”, linked to other words : conventions, stereotypes, clichés, but also “twists and turns”.

  1. Big tropes, archetypes with capitals like : The Chosen One. The Artifact of Power. The Damsel in Distress. The Knight in Shining Armor.
  2. Typical narrative structures like : enemies to lovers, tough guy secretly sensitive, forbidden love,
  3. Situations or plot elements : “there’s only one bed”

 

It leads to many questions & paths :

  • Tropes by categories (ex : Fantasy Tropes : quest, dark lord, hero, good vs evil, blah blah)
  • Clichés are boring, aren’t tropes boring?
  • New tropes?
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clich%C3%A9 Clichés are irritating, right?
  • Platitudes. Stereotypes.
  • Tropes are good because familiarity.
  • When tropes are predictable to the point of boredom.
  • Are predictable tropes clichés?
  • Tropes as metaphors.

 

Well, it’s too big. Creativity and storytelling, finding the frontier between good tropes and boring ones, etc. I need a book. You have an idea?

Thanks for reading!

 

_bodylanguage_29738966_431426100629469_2527800845987217408_n_bodylanguage_15877342_572033809661445_1137528427717328896_n

Instagram : _bodylanguage_

 

 

Montaigne, skepticism & casual forms (does it work for bloggers?)

Skepticism questions the possibility of certainty in knowledge.

Montaigne was a French philosopher (1533-1592), his “Essays” (the word “Essai” in French means “attempts” or “tests”).

I know you won’t read Montaigne (988 pages in translated English, paperback, $27) – I once read an interview of Orson Welles who said it was the book of his life, and he had one copy next to his bed all along.

This guy was a mess, and he wrote his essays for years, in French (in this time, you had to use Latin if you were a serious scholar), like… thinking all along.

 

With the goal of describing man with complete frankness and using himself as his most frequent example, Michel de Montaigne first published his “Essays” in 1580. This collection of 107 chapters encompasses a wide variety of subjects – he saw the most basic elements of man as variety and unpredictability. “What do I know?” This embodies the spirit of the entire volume, for it reflects both the inquisitory search for intellectual knowledge as well as the more personal anecdotal quality of a work that has had an enduring impact on both French and English literature for hundreds of years.

 

He flits around, from a thought to another. No rigor, no plan. Really!

  • “I love the poetic gait, by leaps and gambols”
  • “I lose myself, more by permit than by inattention”
  • “My ideas follow each other, but sometimes from far away”
  • “Wisdom has its excesses, and has no less need of moderation than folly”

 

So : breathe! Life is short! Your blog is not perfect, it’s bricolage and brain odd jobs. Who cares? Share! If Montaigne can do it, you can do it!

Is this casualness French? Nope : wisdom & folly, there are everywhere, little soul, right?

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Continue reading