“The letter’s style is the receiver’s style”

Le style de la lettre, c’est le style de celui qui la reçoit :

“The letter’s style is the receiver’s style”, I saw this sentence today, from a specialist of Proust, quoting approximatively… Lacan.

Let’s pull this string :

When someone writed a letter, there’s a will to communicate, it’s an effort to ‘tell’. The writer bothers, the writer dares.

And it’s NOT the conversation dance. When we talk with someone, it’s a tango, an adaptative dance, constantly moving, meandering together, watching each other; tango.

A letter is written alone, thinking about the other. Empathy.

Words on paper become a letter, an object, a “localized structure of the signifier”, says Lacan.

You adapt a style to the reader. Therefore it’s interesting to read the letters written by an author you like. You see them… in many styles.

You write a letter to a neighbor, a lover, a mother, and you bend your spirit, trying to adapt to what you know about the receiver…

Mmhh, that’s all, what do you think?

I don’t know. There’s probably a scale to draw about written things, from the letter to the article, from the book to the tweet.

Or else, do you write for yourself, expecting it could touch the other?

It’s linked to this : Paul Valéry about “writing for someone”?

 

Thanks for reading!

IMG_9171.jpg

 

Sea/Snow/Sky and their French friends

I opened a book about Proust and found this : “Le temps n’est pas passé sur le hall du Grand Hôtel de Cabourg au bout duquel on voit, par la porte-fenêtre, la mer”.

“Time has not passed on the hall of the Grand Hotel of Cabourg after which one sees, through the French door, the sea”.

Obviously, the author made a tracking shot for the eye, from the hall to the large window then the sea…

In French, “la mer” arrives deliciously at the end of the phrase, opening it to the vast sky. As you know, words have a genre in French, the sea is a she

I said to myself that “la mer” sounds opened and grand and clear, a bit unlike “the sea”, which brakes a lot with its “S” – “Sea” sounds to me like a solid string.

Then I thought about the snow. Snow sounds GREAT for fallen, thick snow. But when it flies from the sky in magic light meandering flakes, I prefer the French one : La neige !

Sky” is great for the sky. It sounds big and clear. The French word is “le ciel“… it’s more pale…

Pépite is greater than nugget. L’Or is brighter than gold. But wood is good, it’s sounds like wood. We say “bois“, alright. Some other words are cool in both languages : l’acier (steel), both are solid and almost blazing, right?

 

Of course, this means nothing. I touch here the infinite, fractal and subtle differences between your native language and the learned one. I can get the words, but I can’t really get their radioactivity, or tiny ones, through movies and conversations.

What do I see on this picture? Curtains/Rideaux. Plates/Assiettes. Clouds/Nuages. Candles/Bougies.

Candle makes me see the flame. Bougie makes me feel the wax. Ahhh it’s complicated!!

 

Thanks for reading!

(and sorry for my bad English)

 

le-grand-hotel-cabourg-ver3-l-xlarge

Is the form imposed by… itself?

I asked a writer about the interesting “forms” of his books. One looks like two different territories separated by an event. The other is weaved with “devices” which acts like small intermissions or surprising dreams reports.

I’m interested by forms in literature, from style to tricks with narration or punctuation (who said Faulkner?), and I stay amazed by the american ways of using storytelling (like in Siri Hustvedt’s essays, which mix her personal life with ideas and concepts).

The writer told me that he doesn’t “think” about the form : it comes in the moment, it imposes itself.

That made me think about this photographer, who said :

“A photographer solves a picture, more than composes one.”

Stephen Shore

As if there was just ONE way to take the picture, in a given place.

That’s my tool today : is the form of a piece of work imposed by itself? As the artist, here, of course, only decides : what does that mean? Where do you know this? In other arts? How does this work?

Thanks for reading!

asx-tv-stephen-shore-behind-mythology-2013.htmlPhoto : Stephen Shore

“Two Birds”, and other “long-range laconic details”

IMG_8266.jpg

I took this picture, then, back home, I opened it on my Macintosh and discovered the two birds, which came as a little miracle. I thought the picture was good (roofs/landscape, the light, the funny road), but it became cool because of these two guys, right?

One could call this “small impressive things”. Borgès called it “long-range laconic details”…

We have in France an idiom for this, le je-ne-sais-quoi (“the I-don’t-know-what”), the little thing that can make something magic, and also can spoil everything. One philosopher even wrote a book about this “almost nothing” (V. Jankelevitch, Le je-ne-sais-quoi et le presque rien).

No doubt he was fond of music, which is almost a wizardry on this topic (thinking about unexpected (or hidden) dissonances or modulations).

It can blossom in many discreet things, purposed mistakes or strange seeds.

This is important in Arts, where perfection is often boring.

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

In a poem, a single word can be strangely placed (or repeated, like in Gertrud Stein’s, “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose”) and a sensation appears :

“Now listen! I’m no fool. I know that in daily life we don’t go around saying ‘is a … is a … is a …’ Yes, I’m no fool; but I think that in that line the rose is red for the first time in English poetry for a hundred years.”.

It can be a single phrase in a whole song. The example of J. Denver :

Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
West Virginia
Mountain mamma, take me home
Country roads

Seems a simple song about nostalgia, but hidden in the song you find “Driving down the road I get a feeling/That I should have been home yesterday”, which colors it differently, right?

“Everything that goes wrong… goes right” is one cool secret.

Details, games of subtleties, purposed mistakes, flakes of gold, unexpected elements, all are “je-ne-sais-quoi”s which put the audience into a state I love.

Thanks for reading!

AUSTRALIA. Sydney. Hunter st, city centre. 2002
Trente Parke
  1. Strangeization Tool & Eyebrow Criteria
  2. Intentional Maladjustments & Braiding Assessments
  3. Wes Anderson, Edouard Manet and modernity
  4. The “Brushstroke Pattern” & Progress in Arts : Offering Awareness

Passages of Valéry – from prose to verse; from speech to song; from walking to dancing

Paul Valéry plays :

The passage from prose to verse; from speech to song; from walking to dancing.
Le passage de la prose au vers; de la parole au chant; de la marche à la danse.

He found a structure, this “passage”. What is it, an elevation? Probably, right?

He notices something :

The purpose of dance is not to transport me from here to there.

The person who organizes or triggers the passage from 1 to 2 has obviously a will. A will for?

Speech tells details about things, it parcels out things, it labels things. A song adds a freedom-movement, brings other reasons for words, and make them mobile. As does poetry.

Dancing, poems, songs : all are rushing to feed a fire. What fire?

Let’s come back to the passage :

from prose to verse; from speech to song; from walking to dancing

It’s a tool. From A to B, bringing this, quitting that.

Where could we apply it? To other universes? Teaching? Photography?

What about meta? What would be the passage from prose to verse to (up again)?

Thanks for reading!

IMG_6730

Capture d’écran 2019-04-04 à 10.16.55

Vial & Stoop : Types of black holes in language

I’m French and I write in English – I make mistakes and I discover new words everyday.

When I read an article or a short story, I understand what happens, and I admit I don’t translate anymore.

But, well, I always meet new insects, which are really puzzling at times…

Today I met “Vial“. Never seen this word but I guessed. A little bottle. In French we call this “une fiole”, which I find funny. Same structure : vial/fiole. OK.

Stoop” was trickier. First, it’s a noun AND a verb. A doorstep (“perron”, in French), and also “to bend”.

There, here am I questioning English Gods : why do you have to stoop, if you have to bend or even to bow?? Can stoop be replaced by to crouch or to squat?

Worse : as a metaphor or a figurative sense, to demean, to do something “below one’s status, standards, or morals”. “S’abaisser à”.

OK, but also to slant (to stoop a bottle of wine?) – then what is to lean? – to catch a prey for an eagle (“the bird stooped and seized a salmon” – un piqué), to submit (“stooped by death” or “this people does not stoop to Rome”) – even to degrade?

 

Thus, when you read “not your language”, you see holes. Little ones can be filled by contexts, other ones make you make a face, pick a dictionary, and go travel in language, in an awe, for twenty minutes. You should try French while I study the word “slew” (4 nouns, 7 verbs, pfff…).

 

At the end, I found : Stoop : “a vessel for holding liquids; a flagon”. Come on!

Hmmm. Fetch me a stoop of liquor, please. Two new words and I’m done. Back to bed. With my book!

Thanks for reading!

IMG_0143.jpg