Thursday, September 07, 2006

living deflowers the eyes and the mind

If "experiential" is more your speed than experimental, you might want to check out Grégoire Bouillier's The Mystery Guest. The author is interviewed at The Brooklyn Rail and gives me hope for the much delayed release (and hell, composition) of my first novel.

Bouillier: I don’t feel as if I came late to literature. In fact I’ve always written and read. Even when I was painting, I wrote on the side. But it’s true that I didn’t make up my mind to publish until I was 40. This wasn’t an accident. In Rapport sur moi I explain that I’d always thought I would publish a book when I was 40 and not before, because when I was five and caught a staph infection, they put me in quarantine [quarantaine] at the hospital, and I think it must have been so traumatic for me as a little kid, being a boy in a bubble, that the word “quarantine” was etched in my brain. So deeply etched that I became convinced, unconsciously, that I’d never do anything worthwhile until I made it past 40 [quarantaine]. Who knows, maybe if they put people in trentaine [thirties] instead of quarantaine I’d have written something in my thirties (laughs). That’s the neurotic version. But there are other things I could say. In a world where being young is valued above all else, I wouldn’t have liked to be labeled a young writer, with the emphasis falling on “young” not “writer.” In my opinion the writer has to place himself or herself in a time outside societal time, and in this sense, it seems to me, writing a book when you’re 40 could even be called a vaguely—very vaguely—political act. Plus, I still think that to write something worth reading you have to have lived. You need to have been up against things and beings, love, death, etc. Living deflowers the eyes and the mind. It tests our mettle. Cioran said that no philosophy survives a bout of seasickness; he could never have written that sentence if he hadn’t spent a day being seasick.

Still unconvinced? Maybe his book trailer will persuade you...

Interview via Maud Newton; Trailer via The Elegant Variation