My life, my work, me.

Sophie Le Cam : It’s Good, Dig In!

Before, I used to joke that only my mom read this blog.

Recently, I got proof that not even she does.

So when I promote an artist here, it's not like it's going to make a big difference or attract a crowd. But hey, it's a kind of journal. I jot down what I like.

And Sophie Le Cam's concert – just like her previous one – really, really impressed me.

I love this new phase of my life where I get to attend shows by people I know, and I think it's fantastic. It was funny, sweet, rhythmic, genuine, with a unique touch that adds personality without overshadowing the emotion. And a few hit songs.

The music videos are great as well – but if you have the choice, go see the live performance.

And you can find her website here.

Smells Like Teen Spirit de Patti Smith

Of course, you've been listening to this on repeat for years, while I, foolishly, have just been listening to the original – which is also very good, let's be clear about that.

But this version has something... charming. And rebellious at the same time.

I would really love to make a music video for this song.

I'm Conducting an Experiment

You probably don't know this, but for over a year (or a little less, I haven't done the math), I've been writing a journal.

Every morning and often several times during the day, I throw words onto the page with no literary pretensions. My goal: to analyze my current state. Untangle looming anxieties. "Describe the obstacle," as I often say, meaning that instead of getting stuck or procrastinating, I try to describe what's blocking me in as plain and disengaged terms as possible. And often, it works.

Now, when I reread my journal – which doesn't happen often – I find that it's... how should I put it... not unpleasant to read. At least, not as bad as one might imagine. Less disjointed and less intensely personal than you might think. It's... readable. Sometimes, to my surprise, even quite interesting. With moments of realization, ideas, and just as much humor as in what I write for others.

I think everything should be this easy.

Especially since I recently read a post about writing 1000 words a day. A challenge the author took on, and it had a huge impact on their life, both personally and professionally. And I thought to myself, "But... I'm already doing it!!!" Except I don't publish it, of course. It's my journal. It's too personal. Too poorly written. It's a tool for progress, not content meant to be shared.

And today, I say: fuck it.

I'm going to write in my blog just like in my journal. Gradually, I'm going to practice sharing what seems unshareable. Especially since, in reality, the readership of one doesn't exceed that of the other by much.

There are several reasons why I think it's a good exercise and, in the end, a good idea.

First, it's always this idea of learning in public (or "working with the garage door open," as they say in the United States): not waiting for the product to be finished or for learning to be complete before sharing what we do. Otherwise, we never share anything. Austin Kleon talks about it a lot in "Show Your Work."

Next, it makes what I write more current, more intimate, and more personal. You see, what makes me so talkative in my journal is that I write to explore the concrete problems that involve my favorite character: me. Everything is serious, everything is urgent because these are the problems I'm trying to solve right now. It's impossible to find the same verve and flow on a topic that doesn't have the same subjective relevance, no matter how interesting it may be in the absolute sense.

Finally, it's the approach I took with the video improvisations last year. Remember? A ten-minute video every day, rain or shine. The goal was to shed the weight of technique to be more spontaneous. I want to do the same thing for writing.

So, I wrote this post from start to finish in about ten minutes without correcting, without rereading, without asking too many questions. I'll do one pass – and only one – of proofreading to remove some repetitions and a couple of swear words. And that's it.

UPDATE: Alright, I did two proofreading passes. Some progress, nonetheless.

It's Not The Beach, IT'S THE SEA

That's completely unrelated, so I consider that I haven't broken my vow.

Vagues Trouville
Breaking the waves.
Pêcheur plage Trouville
The foam provides and ideal backdrop for fishermen silhouettes.
Trouville front de mer
The hardest part is training the seagulls to enter the frame at the right moment.

Unfortunately, I believe you'll be stuck with beach photos until I move away.

Page 100

Just reached page 100 of the novel I've been writing... oh... for fifteen years.

Roman page 100

I would say there are about ten pages left until the end, so I should finish it in one or two years.

This is Not Water (And Not Art)

At the Franciscaines to work. I see there's an immersive installation starting in 5 minutes. Since I have a friend in there and she has never been able to convince me it's worth it, I drop off my bag at the cloakroom and go in. We'll see.

The installation is called "Dernière Minute" (Last Minute), but it could have easily been called "Particle Generator" because that's all it is. For half an hour.

It starts with thirty seconds of voiceover where a woman talks about scattering her father's ashes in the sea - probably to make the committees and Arte believe there's some depth to it. Then, it's never mentioned again.

At first, it's nice. The first minute. (That should have been the title!) Particles on the floor and walls that resemble water or smoke. Then... it stays the same. For 29 minutes. Moving dots. Then lines. Then dots and lines. Then more water... even though the actual sea is literally a hundred meters away.

(You can imagine the dystopian future where we'll be dragging children into these kinds of installations to give them an idea of what it's like to "walk in water." I assure you, it's nothing like it.)

After ten minutes, very unpleasant flashes. Everyone closes their eyes. We look at the walls. What's the point? ("But of course! It's the pain of mourning! The rupture of... blah blah blah!")

So yes, it's beautiful to look at in photos. That's why I went. But when you're there, it's hollow. Artificial. It doesn't tell anything. It feels like they came up with every possible geometric combination to make it last half an hour. For the illustration of a concert or live performance: sure, why not. But on its own...

The usher encouraged us at the beginning to "move, interact." We quickly realized it's quite gimmicky, and towards the end, almost everyone was sitting down.

Dernière minute - fin
Vous allez avoir les fesses mouillées !

The only thing I gained from it? Ten euros.

Oh no, I lost those too.

What a load of crap.

Emptiness and Fabrication

Two pillars of Buddhism recently explored through the wonderful book "Seeing that Frees" by the late Rob Burbea, listening to the lectures of James Low that I discovered recently, and tirelessly through the recordings of Alan Watts, who never ceases to amaze me.

Emptiness does not mean there is nothing.

And rightfully so: we see, we hear, we feel. We think. We imagine. Regardless of the origin of these perceptions and the nature of the reality that produces them, we can agree on one thing: we do experience something. So no, there is not nothing.

However, as soon as we focus on a specific object - a tree, a chair, a passerby - we discover that it is extremely difficult to define anything independently of the rest.

The tree, for example. What makes a tree a tree?

Easy! Let's see... A trunk. Branches. Leaves. Roots... There you have it!

Question: does the soil around the roots belong to the tree? Answer: no, the soil is the soil. The tree is the tree. They are two separate things. Fair enough. However, have you ever seen a tree without soil? And if there is no tree without soil, is it reasonable to exclude one from the definition of the other? Along the same line, does the air belong to the tree? Before answering, remember that wood comes from the carbon in the air trapped through photosynthesis. ("Trees don't grow out of the earth" Feynman said, "they grow out of the air.") And, to follow the reasoning to its conclusion, since there is no tree without photosynthesis, and no photosynthesis without the sun, shouldn't the sun be included in the definition as well?

And the shape itself, the color of the leaves, the scents of wood and chlorophyll, the roughness of the trunk, do all of these have any meaning if there are no beings in the same world endowed with vision, smell, and touch to experience them? Therefore, are these characteristics inherent to the tree or inherent to those who perceive them? Is green a property of the leaves or a property of our visual cortex when we look at a leaf? And in that case, is it reasonable to exclude ourselves from the definition?

tree (n. m.): Piece of the universe made of soil, air, and sun, with green leaves when observed.

For Buddhists, nothing exists independently of the rest.

To think of the tree without the soil, the object without context, the part without the whole is to create concepts that mask the true nature of things. Of course, sometimes it's very practical. Our brains not being infinitely expandable, we need to simplify. When I choose my socks in the morning, I don't think every day about the cosmic connection that links each fiber of the fabric to the rest of the universe. I pick the striped ones because they smell less.

The problem arises when we forget that the concept is just a concept.

My sock, like the tree, has no inherent essence, no cardinal characteristic that can be isolated from the rest. That's what "emptiness" is: the impossibility of defining an object by itself. So when, for the sake of convenience, I consider it as a separate entity, I create a concept. And so far, so good: if it makes my life easier and helps me communicate, why not? But when I take this concept for reality, that's when the beans are spilled. I forget that the word "tree" is just an internal representation of a piece of the whole that, at all levels - physically, biologically, historically - cannot be separated from the rest. In doing so, I create an object that doesn't exist.From nothing, I have populated my reality with a new element that will transform my view of the world. That's what "fabrication" is.

The problem with fabrication? It isolates.

By constantly conceptualizing, everything seems disconnected from everything else. Objects from each other. People from each other. Self from others. The world from oneself. We forget that this separation between each thing is just an idea that we ourselves manufactured to grease the wheels of daily life. From it arises a certain solitude, competition, and a desire for control.

The goal of meditation, especially in the practice of non-duality, is to deconstruct these concepts one by one in order to perceive the world once again as it is. Whole. Unique. Present. And of which, just like trees and socks, we are an integral part.

On Maternity

We often forget the people who make our lives easier.

We dwell too long on those who cause us problems.

Those who smooth the path, give us a boost at the right moment, discreetly help when we need it the most, tend to fade from our attention in favor of others: those who create drama, complicate situations, pose a threat. They say a problem solved is one less thing to think about. In doing so, the helping hand can easily be forgotten along with the problem it resolves, while the devil thrives in the complications it creates.

"The brain fades in favor of the world," said Alan Watts. If I perceive the sound of the river and the sunlight, it's because I'm not constantly preoccupied with the existence of my nervous system and the activity of my neurons. The machine disappears in favor of the experience.

In many respects, maternal instinct works in the same way. By silently providing for all the vital needs, the mother allows the child to focus on the world rather than their hunger, thirst, or fear. She herself cannot remain the center of attention for too long, as it can create an attachment that hinders awakening. Her purpose is to fade into the background for the sake of everything else.