News from Mailles sanguines

Modifié le : 2016/09/18

On the loom, con­stant­ly hand over your work. A spi­der does­n’t have to be asked, it sews, rein­vents, waits, catch­es, repairs, like an aer­i­al fish­er­man. The same applies to blood mesh.

I first met Annie Goulet, the edi­tor in charge of my nov­el at VLB. The meet­ing took place at Juli­ette et Choco­lat’s, just before my choir rehearsal.

Until now, we had only exchanged e‑mails dec­o­rat­ed with vouch­ers. And it was, there­fore, dur­ing the first half-hour, still charged with this polite­ness that we approached the novel.

The nov­el is cer­tain­ly good, but Annie sees two major flaws (I use this word, she has nev­er spo­ken like this): 1) the descrip­tion of the dia­logues is not lit­er­ary, clos­er to “didas­calia” (the­atri­cal instruc­tions), 2) the dia­logues them­selves some­times lack nat­u­ral­ness. Annie would pre­fer a less pol­ished language.

We then dis­cussed sev­er­al approach­es. She asked me sev­er­al ques­tions, putting on the table a pos­si­ble rewrit­ing, the very aban­don­ment of char­ac­ters. For a while, I felt cer­tain ver­ti­go when I saw the text being decon­struct­ed in this way and at the same time, I had to defend my way of approach­ing writing.

It was cer­tain­ly dan­ger­ous to use the voic­es of sev­er­al char­ac­ters, I could have approached the sto­ry from the sole per­spec­tive of the “I”, I could have made the writer more involved in describ­ing the dia­logues, in short, I could have made some pas­sages more lit­er­ary. I under­stood all these things she was propos­ing to me and I felt alien­at­ed from lit­er­a­ture, using my lit­er­ary inabil­i­ty or lack of prac­tice as an excuse.

Of course, it was a cold reac­tion. What she noticed, I noticed too. Annie’s right. I’ve always had trou­ble describ­ing, because I may be visu­al, but I should prob­a­bly have done bet­ter to write a film script. At the same time, if there is one mode of expres­sion that has aged bad­ly, it is the writ­ing of nov­els. The­atre, cin­e­ma, opera, music are enjoy­ing a renais­sance, helped by tech­nol­o­gy and spe­cial effects. The nov­el, on the oth­er hand, retains its syn­tac­tic sha­green, espe­cial­ly the French nov­el which, after many expe­ri­ences, has dif­fi­cul­ty get­ting out of its old can­vas which it stub­born­ly patch­es up.

The only future prob­a­bly rests on the author’s breath, who looks more and more like an ascetic forced to set­tle for his bowl.

So I’m look­ing for my breath ; there is no Pho­to­shop for writ­ing, no more After Effects, no Final Cut of the syntax.

Anglo­phone nov­el­ists may enjoy a lit­tle more free­dom than fran­coph­o­nes because their lan­guage likes rhythm, does not get entan­gled in long dash­es to express dia­logue, makes a spec­ta­cle of itself with all these con­so­nants and con­trac­tions. I, who read a lot in Eng­lish, would like to dust off the use of quad­rants, get rid of cum­ber­some French quo­ta­tion marks.

Are they just tricks ? Only excus­es for my lit­er­ary weak­ness­es ? I doubt it. I say it again, I’m look­ing for my breath. As I was say­ing to Annie, human thought is a mael­strom that, from indi­vid­ual to indi­vid­ual, does not dif­fer great­ly. I am very inter­est­ed in this “poet­ry of thought”, this thick, some­times suf­fo­cat­ing chaos that our decen­cy and our fear of the truth suf­fo­cates with con­ve­nience and punctuation.

That being said, I imme­di­ate­ly agree to rewrite the nov­el to clar­i­fy my dis­com­fort. I will redraw the web not by cut­ting in the char­ac­ters, but by mak­ing sure that every word will be the result of a nour­ish­ing ember.

There are many dia­logues in this nov­el. We need to find a way to bring them in, Annie and I. I say “we” because it is a team effort like Eng­lish speak­ers do so well. I am pleased that VLB is tak­ing on the role of edi­tor at its true val­ue. Among the Eng­lish, a dis­tinc­tion is made between edi­tor and pub­lish­er. The one who edits, and the one who pub­lish­es. An edi­tor is not a revis­er, a more cler­i­cal role.

In the mid­dle of the meet­ing, I asked Annie if we could stop the “vou­voiement”. Fran­coph­o­nes can be so polite and cold when they want. She burst out laugh­ing frankly, her face imme­di­ate­ly chang­ing, friend­ly blood on her cheeks. “I’ve nev­er talked that way to an author for so long!”

I won­der why I was impos­ing this dis­tance. I look like this Serj from my nov­el, who sur­rounds him­self with a vol­cano of silence. Final­ly, the ice is now bro­ken and I’m going back to my adventure.

Oh, one last thing. I asked the ques­tion : “Does this title, Les Mailles san­guines, fit ? »

Annie was not asked to answer : “Well ! When you have the title in front of you, it pass­es, but when you tell some­one, it gets stuck. »

I real­ized that. The Mesh… The enam­el… blood, oth­er­wise ? Every time I had to say the title to a caller, I would delib­er­ate­ly pause between the “Blood” “Mesh”. That’s not a good omen.

So every­thing is back on the table. I, who usu­al­ly start with a title to write, now I am being tak­en away from the chair with which I was try­ing to reach my biscuit.

When I opened my pho­to man­age­ment soft­ware, I came across this spi­der, pho­tographed four years ago. The can­vas… Is that a lead ? Aren’t these four chil­dren who return to the fam­i­ly cir­cle after fif­teen years of absence falling into the net of the past ? There you go, the writer’s machine is going crazy.