Saturday, April 28, 2012

Spring cleaning

The brilliant French literary critic and former TV personality Bernard Pivot has just written a delightful tweet (which I've translated):
After the electoral campaign, a washing machine will be needed to clean up all the words that have been soiled, and a lot of mending will have to be carried out to stitch up all the torn words.
[Après la campagne électorale il faudra faire une machine à laver des mots salis
et du raccommodage des mots déchirés.
Beautifully said.

Anecdote: I share with Pivot a terrible cerebral affliction. We cannot remember faces! In fact, this handicap can be a godsend in various circumstances, and I believe seriously that it determines certain aspects of our love of words, of poetry. I've always realized that, whenever I encounter the visage of a nymph or a female angel, I see her for the first time in my life.

Many men, I suppose, glimpse Venus no more than two or three times during their earthly existence. They recollect nostalgically their first kiss, say, or their first vision of their future wife. As for me, I rediscover Venus almost on a daily basis. I used to say jokingly that I dreamed constantly of lovely maidens who worked in French bakeries. As I grow older, the situation is "worsening" in a way ("worsening" in inverted commas, and "in a way" only). What I mean to say is that my visionary horizons would seem to be extending, rather than receding (as one might expect). These days, I can be struck several times a day by the extraordinary beauty of a face, an expression, a smile, a word...

My life will be summed up: veni, vidi, Venus.

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