June 28- “Write to Kill” with Daniel Pennac

Dear June,

Saturday was a lazy day, since I needed time to realize yesterday’s miracle: my project passed the first round for a funding! Now, instead of going to the supermarket, cleaning up the house, being a responsible adult, I camped in one of my favorite cafés with a book.

A novel, one I have started several times, but at first, I wasn’t attracted enough to read it through. “La petite marchande de prose” by Daniel Pennac. Write to Kill, for the english translation, Harvill, 1999. It is the type of book you usually read early in life, but at the time I didn’t feel like it. Then, four years ago, some friends offered me the trilogy this book belongs to. Again, I looked here and there and left them waiting on the bookshelf.

Last summer, as I was working on my novel, for some mysterious reason I took over the first: “Au bonheur des ogres” translated by Ian Monk as The Scapegoat, Harvill Press, 1998, and I loved it! Now, I don’t know the reason for this change. Has my taste evolved? Or is it that Daniel Pennac is close to the OULIPO writers I started to appreciate that led me to it?

I realized that I feel myself at home in his writing: his style is humorous, but he also treats very deep questions with compassion and humanity. And on top of that, there is a mystery to solve. I love suspense!

For the record, the second part of the day involved taking a nap. And I didn’t even wake up early enough to go to a party!

P.S. June, if you want to know about the OULIPO writers check my post on May 15, or ask May to tell you all about it when you next meet 😉



May 15- A night with the OULIPO writers

Hello May,

how was your day? Sunny most of the time…

The highlight of my day has been going to the “OULIPO” lecture at the National Library in Paris. What is OULIPO?

A group of writers, not just French, and a style of constrained writing full of humor and with an inspiration from mathematics. I refer you to Wikipedia for more details (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oulipo). The group was created in the 1960s but is still very active, and they are reading their texts once a month, on Thursday’s at the National Library.

Italo Calvino for example, one of my favorites, was a member.

To go back to my day, the theme of the lecture was the use of “feet” in literature. It was much fun and sexual connotations were present here and there. This is the first time I joined them, and decided I should do it again. I should even use some of their experimenting technics in my writing.

Just outside, I run into a friend, a writer, I haven’t seen in three years. He told me he would like to read extracts from my novel, which is great!

So OULIPO members are using constraints to write. I might need some constraints for the rest of May:

One form of experimentation would be getting in touch with potential mentors without waiting three years to pass.

Another, two hours writing every day: starting from tomorrow morning.

And finally I dare myself to express feelings. Of love, affection, appreciation to someone I find attractive.

Let’s have fun with constraints!


Logo: http://www.placepublique-rennes.com/2010/11/rennes-capitale-oulipienne/