Falaise (Mailles sanguines)
t was the big night, as they say. The book is already in the memory of others. For a few weeks, I had been asked if I was nervous, people were exclaiming in front of this feat of writing, wishing me success in bookshops, interviews and, why not, the making of a film of the story.
It will go like the wind, I hope, this book, this Falaise. This afternoon I met my publisher, Annie Goulet. She wanted to give me the revised manuscript. Countless small corrections, little things are, in reality, for the most part, only the subtle imperfections of a text that has been read and reworked many times.
Time does not stop. It is empty at the moment and full at the same time. Empty because it does not seem to indicate the direction of my life, full because, obviously, without my making an effort, without me being able, in any case, to fight against this fact, time is running out between my fingers.
Another season again. Already half a year accumulated behind the tie. Spring has finally delivered us summer and things are going well for me. Intensely so too. I had contradictory emotions in my heart as if happiness was the result of a series of interchangeable thoughts and actions.
I'm done here. And faster than expected. I had told my editor that I would give her the manuscript at the very end of March. I was still telling a friend yesterday about my fear of not being able to keep my promise. I was in chapter sixty-nine. My novel contains eighty of them.
It's 9:00 in the morning. Spring patiently licks its new land. I noticed last Friday, as I left the office, that the day was now coming out later in the night. Although winter is far from over, you can feel, both in the wind and in your mind, the loosening of its grip. We can't wait for spring, I want more calm.
I have to constantly travel in the symmetry of the octaves during my singing lessons. After having tamed a little bit the low sounds, I the whisperer, my teacher is telling me to attack the A-flat, B-flat, B-flat, etc. He seems to know where he's going and I'm letting myself be led frighteningly.
Le sort en est jeté, comme aurait dit l’autre. Le manuscrit final est entre les mains de VLB, le tout envoyé vendredi matin, par courriel. J’ai cherché les bonnes phrases, le bon ton pour décrire ce que j’avais fait, rassuré l’éditrice que je n’avais pas bousculé le texte, mais seulement passé l’émeri… lui expliquer que cette démarche avait été entreprise avec l’aide de Périg avant que je reçoive leur accord, qu’à partir de maintenant, je n’interviendrais sur le texte qu’à leur seule demande, etc.
This morning I passed the fifty percent revision mark. Les Mailles sanguines contains 81 chapters or scenes varying from one to ten pages. Always provided with the pages revised by Perig, who gives me his corrections every Tuesday, when we meet as a choir, I open Scrivener, reread the passages, and focus primarily on the elements noted by Perig.
The answer finally came. Some people, who read many manuscripts, decided that mine was worth it. The contract is not signed, I do not immediately reveal the name of the publishing house; let us call it superstition. Anyway, I can tell the story of a bottle of sparkling wine waiting for its time in the bottom of my refrigerator.
My friend Perig has already reviewed 70 pages of Les Mailles sanguines. I have the pages in front of me, took a look at them last night when the choir returned.
I spent part of the afternoon singing, trying, at least, to sing. I feel like I'm moving forward as much as I'm moving back. Sometimes the high notes seem to me to be well placed, sometimes they sound like whale song moaning. As for the low notes, I seem to lose them suddenly. And if my teacher were at my side, he would probably only see sounds and no music.
In our busy daily lives, our minds are at the helm of a distracting and challenging universe. It is therefore fortunate that, on the lower floors, people are discreetly activated, on the lookout for their emotions, carrying out their wishes, as a sound machine that only complains at mealtimes, when the bins are full or when the batteries need to be recharged.
I mailed five copies of Les Mailles sanguines, the first one to Les Éditions..., whose reading committee suggested that I propose a second version. Two other copies were sent by e-mail to more "younger" Quebec houses. Another copy, by mail, to a large and former Quebec publishing house. Finally, one last text, tonight, at a French publisher.
I wrote the following text more than two years ago. It was a request for a 'forum-of-ideas' to be created on the Internet. I was paid to write it. The theme: family. The angle asked: my vision of it as a homosexual. I was allowed 800 words (in French).
My novel is being read by benevolent souls. I'm taking my time to be patient. I have enough to do with a busy job, and I also have some other projects, including making my apartment a pleasant place to live. I'm even reading again. Not content with my reading left out (History of Pi too verbose), I turned to Sophie's World.
The seasons roll on a bumpy path. That will not change tomorrow. Many people already dream of relaxing on the terraces, but winter still continues to pour its snow from time to time, which, in theory, is legal until spring arrives. Then we can cry, but for now, let's endure it!
I don't walk around anymore. I'm sorry about that, still overwhelmed by small and large tasks. Nevertheless, spring continued its early advance over Montreal. We have not had, so to speak, a winter here. I just used the shovel to clear the stairs. Fortunately, we also did not experience endless rains even though the sky was, it seems to me, greyer than usual during this season.
I completed the reading of the Le Gardien du feu and immediately immersed myself in Letters to a young poet from Rilke. At the same time, I continue in parallel, the review of Les Mailles sanguines. The comparison of writing breaths is inevitable even if criticism, as Rilke suggests in his first letter, is unnecessary.
I expect an answer like a woman her sailor. It has already been three months since the boat left and, although there were some fears, there is nothing to weaken hope. In the meantime, you have to work, live your days. In any case, when the news comes in, or when the ship docks, work will resume, the days will become days again.
My former publisher returned my manuscript to me, annotated it. The package was damaged, inserted in a Canada Post envelope, which mechanically apologized in the flattest possible way. Twenty percent of the pages are still missing. The package visibly dropped, the envelope used by my publisher, which was not designed for such a large number of pages, opened and some of the contents vanished. It took me a good half hour to order what could be retrieved.
I slept most of the day, knocked out by a cold. I probably dreamed a lot, because my sheets were, when I woke up, kneaded and undone between my legs. However, I have no recollection of it. Only the warmth of my skin could claim to have known voluptuous and greedy seas.
It's always like that, winter comes roughly during the holidays. There will certainly be a thaw, but in the minds of many, this period marks the end of recreation. January and February we will give them a taste of their medicine, but it won't be any worse.
Ai mis rapidement en pages le roman. Il ressemble déjà à un livre, fait ainsi 216 pages, ce qui pourrait se traduire en un livre de 350 pages. Vu comme ça, tout apparaît si peu. Les pages sortaient de l'imprimante et je glissais mon regard sur les mots. J'en avais un certain malaise et vertige. Extraire ainsi des phrases n'a pas de sens, mon écriture n'aime pas les courants d'air.
I accomplished what I imposed on myself two months ago, which was to reread and recompose the entire novel... before moving on to the last chapter. The end has long been thought and rethought. I still had to go around the garden again to keep in mind all the unifying elements.
Since yesterday, I've been reviewing a poorly written chapter. Les Mailles sanguines will consist of 81 sections, each occupying a maximum of two pages. The latter, however, are longer. This text has been in my head for seven years. It has undoubtedly matured nicely, just as I have reached the age to want to do things right.