Monday, February 4, 2013

A New Blog

I don't write anymore on this blog. It's been years. But I know some people still stumble across it in a mysterious way and read it which I deeply appreciate although my English is hopefully better now and things have changed so much since then. In the best way.

The reason for this new post is just to share my new blog, in case some of you are interested. It's called Sudden And Loud. It's poetry.

Thank you,


Thursday, August 6, 2009

The last book's page

Just finished a book.

I don't know how you feel when you finish reading a book. It's always very hard for me, almost religious. I don't want to spoil that moment. I read slower. I read the ending twice and try to stay "in it" as long as I can. I hate goodbyes.

It's been 4 years now that I haven't read a book in French. Don't think I have something against French literature, it's just that something is missing when I go back to French after having experienced the reading of a book in English. I expressed why in my previous post.

Ok, it's not the only reason. I "met" an author 4 years ago. I met her writing, her recurrent themes, her characters, even herself through her non-fictionnal essays.

Her name is Siri Hustvedt.

I love reading, I deeply do. And I've never, ever read something like this before, so true, strong, moving, sensual, intelligent... The first book I read was "What I loved" and the last one, the one I finished 10 minutes ago is "Sorrows of an American". Between those two I've read each book she wrote, each essay.

Discovering links and references between her books is something wonderful, as if I was sharing a small and silent secret with the author. The day I saw her last book (the one I finished) in the bookstore's front window, bought it and began reading in the street, I wrote a poem about it, it's prose. I never put one of my poems on the internet but well, that's the perfect time so, here it is :

This book
Like a piece of soul
Added to mine
Through the front window
I imagine its smell
And the taste of words
Slowly I will swallow
The summer sun is halfway so I walk
And I meet the first page
Whiter than my thoughts

Writing about what I love in her books would take more than a post but I wanted to say that she plays a great part in my growing love for this language. Reading her books is like having a second, parallel life. Now that this book is over, I feel something like grief, no daily meetings with the characters anymore. I'll miss them.

I was in the subway when I finished it.
The last sentence will echo in me for some time.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

My American emotions

Yes, yes and yes again. I think English or rather American is an emotional language. I hear a lot of French people saying American is an easy language, not complex enough to be very subtle, and so on...

Well that is just wrong. It is wrong because when you know this language deeper you discover its wealth of subtlety. I do believe American language plays really the role a language should play : It's a way. A way to express the more accurately possible what we think and feel in order to socialize ourselves.

And I think it's a generous language, really not proud. It may sound like an odd statement but when I think about my own language, I see it as something that has its own identity, almost independant of people, althought it doesn't exist without us. It's that kind of pride, these embellishments...

When I'm angry, I speak English. When I'm happy, I speak English. When I'm sad too. When I speak to animals. When I hurt myself. It comes from deep inside of me and it's activated by the emotion itself. It's pretty natural to me. And it has something to do with the strengh and emotional power or relieving power of words.

It may be hard to understand, but when I'm late for an appointment, looking for my keys in the appartment, eventually find them, run in the street, miss the bus then take the subway, then realize I forgot the file I needed for this appointment, I can only say "FUCK !!!". It's not elegant, no. But just saying "MERDE !!!" wouldn't be enough you see. Because it's a bit too far from what I really feel at that moment, it's too weak. Although the English word is perfectly balanced because when I say it, I express my emotion accurately enough to start thinking in a smart way even if, I agree, I'll still be 1 hour late.

I also noticed how our senses are part of the language in English. For example, if you look at a wedding picture and no one is smiling on it, you can say : "They don't look very enthusiastic !". You use the verb "look" because it's through your sense of sight that you can say so. Then, if your sister calls you and talks with no energy or happiness about the party she's giving next week, you can say: "You don't sound very enthusiastic !". You got the point.

In French, we use (too much) our sense of sight. We say "tu as l'air..." which is "you look..." in many situations, even on the phone, because the body doesn't have its place in our language. Although, that's through our body first that we apprehend the world around us.

Let's take all this a step further. I think that everything is related and seeing the relations between elements is interesting and necessary. So my point is that if Americans are tactile it's partly because of their language. The straightforwardness of it, its closeness to emotions and feelings and physical perceptions of life make people more tactile. They need to feel others around them, welcome them with a word and a hug. It's important.

How can you possibly feel alive and close to people with a language far from your own emotions ?

I can't.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Mandatory inspiration

To most French people who have a career and are independant in their professional choices, observing and learning from the Americans' way of doing things is "the next step" in their professional evolution. I'm talking about business men, designers, actors, writers, CEOs...

Yes, Americans have a reputation of doers, a proved one.

And I think that what makes them work better or faster or bigger, is their great sense of community. Teams.

Of course, everyone has personal interests but the important understanding from Americans is that it's only through the community, the strengths put together, that their own interests are satisfied and that the results they get can go beyond their expectations because no one should underestimate the power of people working together with the same goal.

There's also the notion of being part of something...

Makes me remember of the making of the movie "The Lord of the Rings". I was so amazed by all these people working so hard on a specific domain, so accurately, being perfectionists because they're part of it, because without one of them, it can collapse, because it's worth it. And all that with so much enthusiasm even though they almost had no sleep or the day was stormy and the shooting schedule had changed.

Americans believe more than us French in challenge and in what it brings to them and to the group. To surpass oneself.

Besides, it's interesting to notice that in French when we want to motivate people or ourselves to start doing something, we always use "Let's go", "Let's do it", because it gives us the extra-energy we miss, sometimes the illusion of it, but it can push people to take action now, to generate that mood, to see challenges as opportunities to do better and strengthen their team.

And yes, I definitely think that this difference has something to do with the notion of individual and his place. In France, we cultivate individualism because we don't see the value and power of being part of a group to achieve things. We don't want to be the cog in the wheel. Of course if it's of someone else's mechanism, it's normal to want more. But to me, Americans know how worthy it is to add quality people to your team and feel that you're at the right place at the right moment because you're working on something important for you and the people with you.

It's a great lesson. Every French people who ever went to the US to work or watch people work say so. There are some here who have adopted that way of doing things but because they don't find many people like them they do something I would do...

...They move to the United States to live not a dream but an effective reality.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Being here Part 2 (a message from a reader...)

I just received a message from one of the readers of this blog, Alvaris, about my last post "Being here". There it is :

"Hi LouiseM, You have a very nice blog. I like the post talking about "being there". A psychology term would be "flow". It's amazing. If your interested, you can find it on TED. It's a talk by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Hope you'll like it."

I immediately looked for this video on and found it. I actually just finished watching it and I am thrilled and surprised because this talk is really a deeper and more "technical" description of my intuition about the fact of "being there", the "flow". Another coincidence is that among many brilliant examples Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi gives, he makes a reference to Jennifer Lin's improvisation at the same TED conference, that you can watch on my last post !

You know what ? I don't believe in chance, I believe in encounters of ideas.

I would like to thank Alvaris for sharing this with me so I can share it with you all. This is what blogging is to me, feeling part of a growing community because we are willing to share valuable ideas and thoughts with people we know so little about, but more each post...

Here it is :

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Being here

Some of you may think that I'm distancing myself from my main topic, business inspiration, with posts like this one or the last 3 ones but I think not. I think that being successful, achieving goals and reaching the life style you want implies being here with all the things you're made of.

Being here to me means stop thinking our life in a compartmentalized way. I feel this very strongly in France and it's a restraint because it feels like you don't have the right to mix too many things, to try to be good at sports and business, and art, and what you want.

Here's an example. One of the first thing someone asks you when you just meet this person is :
"What do you do for a living ?". This is the illusion, thinking you can know someone just by knowing his job. This is a social judgment, satisfying for many.

It reminds me of Timothy Ferriss who didn't know what to answer when he was actually selling memory optimizer pills online and had enough money and time to be champion of tango, to travel and have fun. Tired of people asking the same question over and over again, thinking he had to justify the reason of his wealth with a job title, he finally decided to answer with a serious tone of voice "Oh, well, I'm a drug dealer", which stopped discussions right away as you can guess !

I already posted an entry about Timothy Ferriss and for me he really is someone who knows how to "be here", who made this choice. Present time matters and when you give yourself the freedom to really be here, magical things happen.

I'd like to share a beautiful video with you of a 14-year old pianist doing an improvisation based on 5 random notes someone else picked for her at a TED conference. The video is long but you can jump to the improvisation part (16:38).

When I watched it the first time I got goose bumps (every time actually) and knew this pianist was "there", entirely.
It makes me want to cry and I don't know why. She creates this melody, we're listening to it simultaneously and it's dying almost instantly... I don't know if I'm clear here but it doesn't really matter if what you'll hear touches you.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Michael Jackson and the child in me

Of course I'm writing a post about Michael Jackson because for a French girl like me, he has been very important in my discovery of America's culture and language. The reason I'm bilingual isn't that I studied English at a language school or that my parents are native english speaker. As a matter of fact, they don't speak a word of English and I've never been to a specialize school.

I'm bilingual because of my early love for American entertainment. Passion is the key of fast learning. And passion, when you're young, starts with songs, images, celebrities.

The reason why I'm shocked by his sudden death is because I never imagined him dead, because he was a child all his life and children don't die.
He's part of my childhood and became almost a fictionnal character. It's the same feeling as the one I felt when I was told the country house where I grew up has been sold and completely renovated. It's over. It doesn't exist anymore, only inside of me.

His soul was overflowing his body.
We are all fragile, dependant on images, legends, to balance reality.

I love our vulnerability, and his. I loved him.