Purple Haze Series

Please post your reflections on the Purple Haze ‘dialogic’ seminars here.

Warning: Spoiler alert
If you’re not taking part in the seminar the reflections below will probably give the story away.

35 Responses to Purple Haze Series

  1. Monik Deslauriers says:

    Monik Deslauriers
    28 février 2011
    Je suis très reconnaissante que Nicole Brossard aie replongée si généreusement avec nous dans son oeuvre “le Désert Mauve”. Je n’ai pas assistée aux rencontres préparatoires mais j’ai assistée à la rencontre dialogique. J’ai été très emballée de l’approche particulièrement humaine du Dc. Cornett. ll nous permet de prendre le temps d’approfondir, d’exprimer nos émotions, nos questionnements etc face à l’oeuvre et l’artiste ; de plus la beauté extraordinaire de tout cela c’est que le partage avec l’artiste nous permet d’avoir des réponses directes et d’assister à la mise en lumière de certaines facettes intimes de son processus de création et là …la magie s’installe. Avoir la possibilité d’échanger avec des gens qui ont réalisés leurs rêves, me nourrit et surtout m’insuffle le courage de poursuivre mon projet d’écriture qui exige constance et courage. Merci au Dc. Cornett d’être le canal à travers lequel prend forme ces évènements où nous apprenons à tendre les bras vers l’extraordinaire et la passion avec laquelle le Dc. Cornett nous y convie en est le pilier. Merci Dc. Cornett et je sais qu’un jour JUSTICE vous sera rendu. Merci pour votre travail exceptionnel ; nous en bénéficions tous!

  2. Maureen says:

    Merci, Nicole Brossard, d’avoir généreusement partagé avec nous les idées, les inspirations et les philosophies derrière cette oeuvre.

  3. Blue-cloudy says:

    Blue-cloudy, February 2011, p.1

    Reflections on completion of Nicole Brossard’s novel Mauve Desert (English translation)

    ‘When two words are identical, you must not take undue offence or think you have been wronged in terms of choice. Simplicity is a fine patience of meaning’.
    Mauve Desert, Nicole Brossard

    I suppose in printed work two words that are identical are literally so – that is, same spelling, same font, same surrounding punctuation. If not, then not identical. Obviously, as well, the words or phrases that surround a word or set of words also influence meaning, can make one interpret said words differently, depending. Then when you get to translating words from one language into another, the issue of identical dissolves near entirely, at least in an oral sense, all those etymological aspects dangling, all that flesh of my flesh whispering the puncturing secret of time flexing semantic midwifery. Oh Mauve Desert, & the enthral of going forward asking, the slick bits of the inevitable folly pacing on cue, love ricocheting – remember how ricochet, the word, is a way to get out of a situation, be it jubilant or deadly, almost or whim…

    The two versions of Melanie’s story in Mauve Desert are similar, yet nevertheless different in numerous tiny yet meaningful ways. Flipping between the first version & the so-called translation, I am struck by how subtle choices of words & of phrases are at issue, leading to different connotations. In the “original” version, to give one small example, the narrator speaks of Lorna as “inventing”; in the translation the words used are “storytelling” & “lying”. This tiny change puts a different spin on the Lorna character in the translation, the latter “lying” seeming more judgemental than “inventing”. Throughout the translation there are small changes that seem to make the text more abstract as well as more lyrical, slightly sparser than the original. It is difficult to claim the latter definitively as sometimes there are passages with more concrete imagery in the translation than in the original, though not often. Here is an example of a passage changed ever so slightly:

    Original – I was always certain of everything. Of faces, of the time, of the sky, of distances, of the horizon. I was certain of everything except words. The fear of words. Slow fear. Strains to say. Strains to hear. Pain in all my veins.

    Translation – I was always certain of everything. Of gestures, of the weather, of distance, of the horizon. Of everything except words. The slow fear of words. A frightful pain in all my veins.

    Hard to say why, but I think were it me translating, I’d want to keep of faces, Strains to say, & Strains to hear in the translation – semantically & sound-scape-wise they seem important to me. Then again, I have not read Mauve desert in French, do not know how the two versions differ there, this is where it gets strange, thinking on translation of a translation of a translation. The two versions of Melanie’s first person narrative also work in a way as “friend” texts, with the translation adding to the original & vice versa. I would need to read a number of times more (& it is going to be a pleasure to do so) to see if I can detect a substantial difference in the point of view between the two texts. The titles? Yes, curiously enough, Mauve Desert suits both the substance of the Melanie text & the overarching title for the entire text, even as Mauve, The Horizon in a way I can’t at the moment quite put my finger on works well as title for the so called translation…Wonderful glorious book as much about words, writing & philosophy as about characters & objects, places, relationships…

  4. Albion says:

    Negotiating Reality

    Every few years, through the unforgiving climate, wildflowers bloom ephemerally en mass to attract hummingbirds.

    Nicole Brossard’s Mauve Desert is like a poetic experiment. It takes us to the hot inescapable desert of Arizona where colours and lucidity live. Passages have an inner coherence but remain virtual: spontaneity and sexuality, grounded in poetic rhythm, provide the reality.

    It’s a book of language and structure, abstractly conversing with meaning and content through mise en abyme, mirrors, translations, and case histories. There are many layers offered but is there enough space to think? Does form replace content? Is there something missing?

    It was wonderful, and for me validating, that Nicole Brossard noted that our ‘dialogic’ process recreated her pleasure, energy, passion, desire, intensity, and feverishness at the moment of creation. Our deep reading process calls unto deep, it plays on the affective, and we join her as a foreigner in her adolescent imagination.

    Ms Brossard suggested that she doesn’t write ‘real’ novels. After reading Mauve Desert I would suggest there is no such thing as a ‘real’ novel.

  5. Pingback: Mauve Reality | Have You Experienced? – The Website of Professor Norman Cornett's Dialogic Sessions

  6. Albion says:

    On finishing Mauve Desert – Ablion

    First thoughts.

    What a remarkable book.
    The structure of the book is utterly compelling. When I started to read the translation “Mauve the Horizon”, the simultaneous alignment and contrast compared to “Mauve Desert” made my eyes moisten. Through our seminar readings we had unknowingly read the first chapter almost in its entirety. The translation seemed to form stereo imagery, a slight rotation on the scene, a new angle, a new geometry which made my reading fasten as I flirted with clarity and understanding. My reading experience changed dramatically through “Mauve the Horizon”.
    Up to that point I’d started to gloss over the paragraphs which were too dense. I had in my mind that I’d come back to them to pick out meaning from them. At one point I wasn’t convinced that I would finish the book as I went through several chapters, dawn, light and reality without being engaged. That said the translation section provided a sense of satisfaction, understanding and resolution
    The phrase “torrential lightening branched over the city like thinking flowing through the mind” stands out as one of my favourite from the book. This sentence is worth a thousand photographs.
    The description of the musicality and warmth of Kathy Kerouac was exquisite. It reminded me of the description in Lolita by Nabokov of Lolita’s tennis serve being; “…the highest point to which I can imagine a young creature bringing the art of make-believe, although I daresay, for her it was the very geometry of basic reality.” This resonates strongly with the language of the book; reality and geometry both being important concept motifs which reoccur throughout. Melanie’s intellectualising of the approach to reality is often understood in the sense of motion, leaning thoughts, or traversing reality.
    The closing of the “Purple Desert” section is intense. I raced through the final paragraph. What happened is up to anyone’s interpretation, but the return of the first sentence of the book “The desert is indescribable” at the end of this scene provides a powerful blurry clarity, the timing of the phrase is impeccable. “I didn’t see a thing. The desert is indescribable. The gaze melts”. The sentence “The gaze melts is recurring also. These are powerful hypnotic motifs.
    On page 81,”Laure Angstelle knows how to anticipate the moment when the soul is going to crack…” parallels strongly the sentiments that we distilled from Kent Stetson’s Harps of God that at somepoint, without warning, experience or any sign, the soul is going to be tested to its limits and there is a point where it will break”.
    Pg 114 has a quote I’ve been unconsciously been looking for the past 3 or 4 years. “Love books…..for you never know by what chance encounter, at the turn of a phrase, your life can find itself transformed”. I agree with this strongly and it’s placing in the book again gives another wave of clarity which mirrors Melanie’s conversations with the concept of reality.
    The scene where Laure Angselle talks to Maude Laures is fascinating and I need to read it over and over. At this point I was really starting to see themes which permeated through Melanie’s, Laure’s, Maude’s and Nicole’s writings. At one point I was starting to think they could have been the same person. The middle section of the book, especially the dimension chapter I found it very hard to make progress through the text.
    To finish, a provocative phrase which causes me to pause for thought; pg 189 “O’blongman, who devoted his life to hoping for beauty, understood that once encased in science beauty could only fade. “

  7. Pink Martini says:

    Purple haze1

    Lecture de Mauve Desert du ch 5 jusqu’au portrait de Mélanie

    Montréal, Vendredi 11-2 AM

    Ouais… je me demande où l’on s’en va avec tout ça. Je fatiguais de plus en plus à la lecture, mais je tenais à ce que quelque chose, au moins le portrait de Mélanie, me révèle quelque chose. Là, j’ai lâché. Vide, frustrée. J’ai aussitôt refermé le livre.

    L’an dernier on nous avait donné à lire un autre livre de Nicole Brossard. Je me souviens que jusqu’aux toutes dernières pages je n’avais strictement rien compris, me demandant sans cesse pourquoi je perdais ainsi mon temps. Que font là tous ces personnages? Ce n’est que dans les toutes dernières dix pages (ou était-ce deux?) du livre que j’ai enfin eu la sensation de faire face à de l’humain derrière l’écriture, humain je dois dire qui, dans cet ultime sursaut, m’a profondément séduite. J’ai vécu des moments de bonheur qui ont compensé pour tout le reste. Sans parler de la rencontre avec l’auteure elle même.

    Je me suis longtemps questionnée et me questionne toujours sur ces cours de lecture avec le Dr Cornett. Tout le monde fait un effort surhumain pour déchiffrer les hiéroglyphes d’un auteur (quels choix il fait!). Tout le monde y va de son interprétation. C’est ceci. Non, c’est cela. Mais non ça doit être ça. Mais non…Un jour, dans un de ces cours (était-ce Nicole Brossard que nous lisions? cela aurait pu parfaitement l’être), c’était un samedi de midi à quatorze heures, je n’en pouvais plus. Nous étions en Février. J’ai pris ma voiture en sortant et j’ai foncé, foncé sur l’autoroute jusque chez nous à la campagne, à la recherche d’air, d’air et de simplicité. Je n’en pouvais plus de ces exercices. En arrivant, je me suis précipitée dans ma miellerie pour m’inonder d’odeurs de cire et de simplicité. Enfin un peu de sérénité.

    Commentaires du Vendredi 11-2 (tard en soirée, à la campagne)

    – Friday sight reading # 4

    Tranquillement le désert s’immisce en moi avec sa luminosité, sa faune et sa flore.
    Je suis à l’écoute. Connivence avec l’humanité. Rejet de la médiocrité. Mais aussi tellement, tellement de fragilité. Les mots suivants me viennent à la bouche…mon corps comme éponge.

    – Daily meditation #2

    Toutes ces ombres. Cette soif d’absolu et de lumière.
    Paradoxalement, je réalise que j’ ai avancé dans ce livre telle une plongeuse en eaux troubles. Je distingue mal les formes, parfois quelque chose de fugitif me frôle. Un poisson? Dans quelles “grandes eaux” suis-je?

    Note: Curieusement je constate que ces deux paragraphes se suivent dans le livre.

    – Vendredi soir 11-2 encore

    Reprise du livre Mauve Desert là où je l’avais laissé (du portrait de Mélanie jusqu’à celui de Maude Laures) quelques pages à peine car…

    Je poursuis ma lecture. Pour pas longtemps cependant parce que j’en arrive à l’autoportrait de Maude Laures.

    Enfin un personnage en chair et en os qui, de surcroit, se déplace dans un quartier que je fréquente. J’apprends qu’elle a fait la découverte du livre de Mélanie et que ce dernier va changer sa vie. Ma tension se relâche. La plongeuse que je suis ne se trouve donc pas dans la Mer des Sargasses, ni en Mer Morte. Elle a enfin trouvé des repères.

    Pas besoin d’en lire davantage aujourd’hui. Je me demande, cependant, si je dois reprendre le livre dès le début, surtout les passages bâclés à la lecture précédente?

    Samedi 12-2 AM (toujours à la campagne)

    Réveil à l’aube. Je pense à mes lectures d’hier soir.

    Non, je ne reprendrai pas la lecture du livre. Car, en réalité, j’ai retenu plus que je ne le pensais de cette lecture dans le vague. J’ai, dans ce demi-éveil, eu des apparitions: Angela Parkins si vivante et tout d’un coup inerte, à terre, le corps encerclé de craie; Lorna, plongée dans son moteur et l’arrivée de la mère de la petite fille; un homme long au corps maigrelet et la jeune fille qui danse avec Angela.
    Petites explosions, mais des flash cette fois-ci! Je sais maintenant vers où je nage…

    Dimanche 13-2 Matin tôt

    Mauve Desert – Scènes (et fin de nos lectures)

    Oui…la mère…
    …si…

    absente

    and, yes…
    …the daughter

    …so…
    fragile

  8. Blue-cloudy says:

    Writings for Mauve Desert by Nicole Brossard… Blue-cloudy, p. 3, February 2011

    Interstice

    “Beauty is before reality.”
    Nicole Brossard

    Melanie here you stand
    You with a hand on the scratched door handle
    Of the enabling Meteor –
    Me, a sundry reader all liberty
    In the noise & sweat of tires squealing –
    Melanie it is neither song nor monologue
    This thinking/feeling you bring to the table –
    Under a bosom umbrella in the sun
    Fierce heat & trimester combinations –
    Dear Melanie it truly is ‘matter’ of fact
    Now that I’m watching all this sideways & lambent –
    You were the story even before the story surfaced –
    Character is story – ditto atmosphere – ditto aesthetic –
    Melanie the rough chafing of ideals,
    Ferocious wavering in the desert breeze,
    Colour as much fierceness as beauty,
    “Beauty is before reality” –

    Melanie there you go
    Away from the symptoms, the softness, the core –
    Who can bring you back without twisting a wrist –
    What kind of music pure enough for the radio –
    Where is the center of the astronomical night you embrace –
    Melanie here I come no longer on fire
    Wondering how it ever ‘couldn’t’ come to that,
    Ferocity, passion, collision, camisole –
    What is the tipping point as we caterwaul all edge –
    To imply is as it were de-boned at this moment –
    Melanie the struggle for self governing
    Takes the heart out of seduction
    As though seduction might lead to knowing –
    Ostensibly untrue, ultimately bull’s eye –
    Melanie the dark, the light, the dark, the dark
    & you under Mother’s skirts
    & you in your hopeless teaser shirt –
    Melanie can I embrace you weary?

  9. Blue-cloudy says:

    Writings for Mauve Desert by Nicole Brossard… Blue-cloudy, p. 2, February 2011

    Calamity

    “A mother makes a difference if she has taught her daughter well. A mother who doesn’t teach her daughter deserves to be forgotten in front of her television set. An ignorant mother is a calamity…”
    Nicole Brossard, Mauve Desert

    Mother making a difference, for better or all too often for worse – child rejecting the uninhabitable, mother with ‘safe’ emblazoned like a tattoo on her overly involved psyche. The prosecution rests – who residing? – daughter darker than the intermittent blood between her legs, mother mopping up decidedly elsewhere. There is pattern broken on the gist of the rumour mill – children unrelated run off in all directions – mothers tap out a morose code of simple ethics – daughters look through it all, spill their sense of entitlement like so much disposable ‘art’, so much crepuscular derision.

    It’s in this purple patch the injured mother will secretly sow health – here as the daughter takes to the clean knives of passing roads wilfully allowing. On the television, cops & robbers shows, victims bleeding out, heroes showing flaws, though only those that can be applauded. The daughter is fascinated by the electric field through which she samples the courage as well as the humility of chance women. The mother, bound up by experience, has no way to answer the volatility of all this. Looking out into the desert, calamity ingested like a glass of clear water, not at all what you’d expect, but nevertheless…

    It can take a dissatisfied daughter to cull an Arizona sunrise tenderly, fiercely – & all this all alone, the flood of colour reaching a poignant ache in the damaged center – can take a disoriented mother to heighten the contrast between in love & loving, the ample dehydrated, masks slipping, hope a fake gold coin. A mother who fails to teach forgotten as the heightened light loses territory, leaves dim dark. The child all grown up has something to feel in this instance, little to say how ever many words she traces out. “An ignorant mother is a calamity” – by extension, an angrily passionate daughter grieving/engraving…

  10. Blue-cloudy says:

    Writings for Mauve Desert by Nicole Brossard… Blue-cloudy, p. 1, February 2011

    Mauve

    “…Here I am, motionless in the room, watching what is going on in the street. Nothing. Only reality. Oh to take my leave! Some day I will exit reality, the scandal of it. Beauty is before reality…”
    Nicole Brossard, Mauve Desert

    ”Beauty is before reality” – of course! Should have thought of that before weighing in – the bashed, jazzy cymbal clang of that, edgy as how you get trying to match strangeness to complex tolerance – all this in a world where the senses rarely take a worn-out seat without a dry-mouth fight – beauty without reality – is that what we discover, pulling on a delicate chain, the chorus of what’s left lustily secular teaming with ancient tidal pool life – “what” & “why” the strictly made turns over – the loss, the repeatedly uncertain, the scrubbed down passionate?

    I’m hanging a little blind white gown over an edge of the empty bath tub – restful – l’m remembering getting near the real leaves me scrubbing knuckles raw. This is the moment to switch to out a window into raw mauve, slashing exit, excitable reconnection – this is the idea of desert proving a good, emotional, harsh mime – is this beauty before reality dangling lessons?

    Down in the street, two blind slime & the scraps of a dark party – just about nothing at all. I’m wearing my sleaze on my sleeve at the moment, worth hands down of nothing at all. White gown, slit to the thigh, & workable beauty elsewhere. Master of sins that crack like false ice: will we ever learn to honestly give up expressions salted by “like”? Doubtful, & good on us for that, spirit of simile ancient as wobbling towers we expect to stand longer than we will –

    Oh my remembrance of nothing, only remembrance – how the street, tectonic plates lifting scandal aloft as though waving a parched flag, how foolishly hope sows anchoring grain & gut – oh the scandal of what has to happen if we are to move forward or backward or sideways even. A blind white gown doused in reality & mauve light, mauve ash, mauve psychological footprint. Beauty is before reality, that without a doubt – what happens when the inevitable is denied? Ah, all too human, but not to be ignored…

  11. Albion says:

    Friday Sight Reading 4 -Albion
    After reading to the end of the characters chapter a passage like this takes on an entirely different role. Somehow, simultaneously we have the words of Melanie, Laure Angstelle and Nicole Brossard in this piece. The layering of the book provides a confusion where Melanie and Nicole Brossard could be the same or could be entirely different people. They are all writers and the book alludes to them writing about what they know; literally, this could be in part autobiographical.
    Is trudging through the thick language of Melanie enough to give you the motivation to get to the core of this book? Her language is beautiful but also cyclic and repetitive; it draws you in with its warm and vibrant descriptions but repels you with its empty language and over use of the abstract poetic mode which hints towards understanding but at the same time clouds rational.
    For example; “Eternity is a shadow cast in music” is a description which I like and dislike at the same time. I like the word games, the poetic licence but on some level the imagery wraps the imagery which wraps the imagery and you think to yourself, does this phrase carry wisdom or not.
    The most fulfilling reading experiences come when sentences or passages resonate so deeply that they rock your core, as if the author has you in mind. Here some do and some don’t. It’s not consistent.

  12. Albion says:

    Daily Meditation 2 – Albion
    Friday Evening
    I want this to mean something, I really do. We’ve been searching all week. I wanting to understand this passage parallels Melanie wanting to understand or communicate with reality. At some point you realise she isn’t getting anywhere and then we move on to a subsequent paragraph which echoes the same sentiments and we start again, we try to understand as she does. The cycle keeps repeating.

  13. Albion says:

    Thursday Sight Reading 3 – Albion
    Today the writing is irritating me. Where is the flow? What do I do with phrases like “braced like an existence” or “between them was just enough silence”. They have to be read and re-read and unpacked. The phrases are beautiful but they don’t carry the story forward for me, they trip the story up, confuse it, remove direction.
    Maybe as I get further into the book, these styles are going to weave and from them something will emerge which is utterly compelling. For now though, a lot of investment is necessary to get something out of this book. To me it’s more of a poetic expression or a short piece to be savoured; it’s not a page turner.

  14. Albion says:

    Daily Meditation 2 – Albion
    Friday Morning
    I’ve read up to page 20 of the book and it is littered with short passages like this. There are recurring words and motifs, “I was fifteen”, “reality”, “certitude”, not here but also “solitude”, “explosions” and others in the book. I’ve had the temptation to create my own sentences with these words, for instance
    I was fifteen and the certitude of my reality gave me solitude.
    It’s not a criticism. It’s the frequency of repetition of these words that keeps them bouncing around your head, so much so that after a while you start to convince yourself the number of words used in this work must be limited or chosen carefully. It’s hypnotic and you wonder if you’re making progress through the book. Reading has been slow going for me as passages like these are so dense. In class it takes us 6 readings and then a discussion to feel like you’ve started to grasp a phrase. These phrases are ever so difficult to access when I read at the pace I like to read at to feel a flow to the text. I’ve had to start the book again once, re-read pieces, give up a few times, it’s hard going.

  15. Pink Martini says:

    Mauve Desert by Nicole Brossard

    First impressions (Chapters 1 to 4)

    It feels good to recognize our readings in due order.
    Still it doesn’t change what I’ve said before. We learn a little bit more than we did before, but. This whole reading brings a better sensation of the desert, the reason to be attracted by it, its beauty. It also brings more details about the trio, the narrator, her mother and her lover, Lorna. No big discoveries however. Everything had already pretty much been said and guessed somehow.

    I have this feeling of a slow motion history where the important things are yet to be addressed. I am in a state of happy expectation.

  16. Albion says:

    Daily Meditation 2 – Albion

    Thursday

    Personal feelings act in any kind metaphorical way on our observations, a physical twisting or a mental leaning; the girl tries to manipulate her reality and thoughts to make them the same shape. We see a projection of reality and from this we try to infer its nature. We try to find the facts without the sunlight.

  17. Albion says:

    Wednesday Sight Reading 2 – Albion

    There is a beauty in the description of the spilt milk as it flows into the shape of a country. This parallels the intonations and lip movements, full shapes and full sounds, oozing poise and balance, gentle yet assured. The closing line where her mother cleans the milk without exasperation ties together this flowing scene; it’s full of love, jealousy and concern.

  18. Pingback: Mauve Reflections | Have You Experienced? – The Website of Professor Norman Cornett's Dialogic Sessions

  19. Pink Martini says:

    Daily meditation #2

    Hue said something last Monday and that something came back to my mind this morning at dawn. He told us that he practices art meditation as a spiritual exercise.

    I think I have been reading this text the wrong way, making endless efforts to understand it and finding out, every time, there was nothing really meaningful. Maybe, if I read it just for the sake of reading, letting go tension and willpower, meaning would come to light. Maybe it wouldn’t also, who knows. Still, it would make more sense, the aim being not to understand the way we think we should.

    We were talking about anthropology the other day. There so much beyond reality. I know that. Still, I often fall in the trap of first degree meaning.

  20. Pink Martini says:

    Thursday Sight Reading #3

    Ever since I read about Lorna, the mother’s friend, enjoying kissing little girls on the mouth, the fate of Anne Marie Swarzenbach keeps coming to my mind. AMarie was a Swiss photographer/explorer/reporter who lived around the first World War. I had read about her in a book by another famous traveler writer named Ella Maillard. They had crossed the Afghanistan deserts together by car, an exploit at that time especially for two women alone.

    Last year, in Europe, I came across an exhaustive exhibition dedicated to A Marie who, I ignored, was also well known. There I found many of the pictures she took, books, readings, films. She was a fascinating personage. I became interested to know more about her and bought the book they were selling along with the exhibition.

    AMarie belonged to a very wealthy Zurich family. She had many brothers and sisters but she was the only one very close to the mother, following her in all circumstances dressed as a boy. She even accompanied her mother when she was receiving her lesbian friends, a well dissimulated fact in those days. The young girl liked being with them and didn’t appreciate when she was asked to leave. She suffered all her life from depression and was addicted to drugs. Anne Marie died young after a fascinating but troubled life resulting from her relationship with her domineering mother.

    All this was very new to me as are in a way Nicole Brossard’s writings.

  21. Pink Martini says:

    Tuesday Sight Reading #1

    Yes, I recognize that feeling of the power that seizes you when you are fifteen. Strange, I had never thought that the same could happen with other people. Actually, I had completely forgotten about these years until one day, back home, when I was turning into my fifties, I decided to throw away old stuff. There were my diaries amidst that junk. At the time I was writing them I was taking great care to hide them. So, there I was, rediscovering my old “me”. The diary of the year I turned fifteen (easy, I was born end of December) made a huge difference with the preceding ones. I was suddenly switching to a new and exciting life filled with intensity. As I said before, I was discovering the power of the ME.

    (Sorry, I am getting mixed with all these readings and re-readings. Since I wrote it here it goes)

  22. Pink Martini says:

    Purple haze 1

    Daily meditation #2 (Wednesday)

    Words are music. And music is everything.Why not enjoy them for the sake of it. Go from one word to the other, just wandering about, there being no need to get anywhere in particular.

  23. Pink Martini says:

    Purple haze 1
    Wednesday sight reading #2

    Depuis le début nous lisons de courts textes en dehors de leur contexte. Depuis le début nous sommes conditionnés par le fait que nous savons d’une part qui est l’auteur, Nicole Brossard (que nous avons déjà rencontrée l’an dernier), et de l’autre par les questions qui nous sont posées: est-ce sensuel; est-ce sexuel; est-ce féministe ou lesbien? Depuis le début donc notre esprit converge vers l’érotique féminin.

    Dans le texte qu’on nous demande de commenter aujourd’hui, une enfant de cinq ans est assise devant sa mère qui, elle, sourit à son amie Lorna, celle là même qui aime (ou aimait) embrasser des petites filles sur la bouche. L’enfant est observatrice. Elle regarde attentivement les bouches des deux femmes, et s’attarde “avec obstination” sur leurs lèvres quand elles prononcent des mots commençant par “m”: “their lips would disappear for a moment then, swollen, reanimate with incredible speed”. La mimique du baiser “mmmmwaa”.

    Les enfants ont leur degré de compréhension et on peut les voir assister à, ou lire, des scènes que l’on jugerait inappropriées pour leur âge avec une innocence désarmante. La petite pressent-elle quelque chose qui la ramène aux toutes premières sensations, lorsque nourrisson à la sensualité déjà éveillée ses lèvres faisaient “mmm” sur le teton de sa mère?

    En même temps elle ne semble pas dupe. “Bitch” dit-elle en regardant Lorna pour la première fois. Sent-elle en Lorna une compétitrice, quelqu’un avec laquelle elle va devoir partager l’amour de sa mère?

  24. Albion says:

    Tuesday Sight Reading 1 – Albion
    This confidence and sensation of the pulse of life motivates her escape to the desert. The power of dying must relate to her new feeling of independence, a new feeling of personal responsibility for her own actions, which at their extreme could end her own life, but at the same time provides the motivation to explore for herself the infinite.

  25. Albion says:

    Daily Meditation 2 – Albion
    Monday
    “Reality is a little passion fire that pretexts.”
    This is a sentence so succinct and terse you almost have to be wary of it. In some ways we could reduce all that we do to two, perhaps more, categories. Either we proceed in a way so that we could try and discover a ‘reality’; or we have a feeling that we function in something that is real which inadvertently burns or traps our judgements.
    Is false consolation better than no consolation? Is a perceived pure and logical method of discovery a replacement for no consolation?
    As the day elapses we could watch the shape of reality’s shadow shear as it reaches to shade a thought or two.

  26. Pink Martini says:

    Purple haze 1
    Daily meditation #2
    Tuesday 8-2-2001

    Strange to see what happens at age fifteen. Before I used to think life would always be the same and that I was stuck for the rest of it. Suddenly there was I, smiling as ever before, and daring, daring.

  27. Pink Martini says:

    Purple Haze 1

    Tuesday (the 8th) sight reading #1

    Curiously enough that kind of sensation happened to me at… precisely fifteen. I was emerging from the MIddle Ages and everything suddenly seemed possible. New friends, new habits, new horizons came to my life. Most of all I discovered the power of ME.

  28. Pink Martini says:

    Purple Haze 1

    Première rencontre et première lecture

    Quand vous regardez ou lisez quelque chose que vous ne comprenez pas ou ne reconnaissez pas, un extrait de film, ou de livre hors contexte comme ce fut le cas hier, qu’on vous invite à vous y attarder longuement, quelques avenues s’ouvrent à vous:
    -ou vous rejetez le tout et vous sortez;
    -ou vous vous raccrochez à ce qui vous touche, parfois pas grand chose (un souvenir, des liens possibles…), cela peut vous procurer quelques moments de plaisir;
    -parfois, après de vaines tentatives, pour ne pas “capoter”, vous cherchez le petit détail qui vous fait rêver en faisant fi du reste (“qu’ils aillent au diable”) un peu de beauté, des idées originales par exemple…,;
    -vous pouvez aussi choisir dans ce qui précède, piquant de ci, piquant de là;
    -ou mélanger le tout.
    Vous êtes toujours là, c’est bien.
    Mais il existe une autre possibilité, une “voie nouvelle “, inconnue de vous, celle qui vous prend par surprise.

    Pour ma part, n’ayant jamais été attirée par “l’explication de textes” de ma jeunesse, ce que je cherche en tout premier lieu, dans de semblables cas, le plus facile, c’est le jeu. Parfois cela se fait avec succès, parfois sans. Parfois avec plaisir, parfois sans.
    Dans l’ensemble j’essaie quand même de m’assurer que la dimension “plaisir” y trouve sa part.
    Parfois tout de même j’en doute.
    Je fais alors appel, dans ces cas là, à mes souvenirs. Et je me souviens que parfois, quand j’ai navigué dans l’inconnu, que j’ai marché à l’aveuglette, le jeu en a valu la chandelle.
    Il y a inconfort, c’est certain. Mais aussi quelque chose de moins évident, de positif dans l’ensemble: j’apprends et je me retrouve transformée. Cela se fait sans prise de conscience. Tout d’un coup je ne suis plus la même.
    Cette “voie nouvelle” peut s’offrir à nous, si l’on s’en donne la peine. Parfois, mais pas toujours.
    Alors? tu joues ou tu joues pas?

  29. Pink Martini says:

    Purple Haze1

    Text 3 ((I was well acquainted…” )

    Is this text sensuous?

    The descriptions of the desert in the first two texts are definitively sensuous. I can’t say that this is the case in the present one.

    Is this text sexual?

    You must be referring to the kissing on the mouth.
    It could be a game, an ordinary habit (some parents kiss their children on the mouth) or…sexual. The problem is that the text is not explicit as to Lorna’s age at the time of the “kissing” habit.

    Is this text feminist?

    Nicole Brossard doesn’t need to wave a little feminist flag every time she writes a sentence.

    Is this text lesbian?

    Who knows?

    We are reading this text out of the blue (à partir de rien). For sensuality or sexuality to arise we need some preliminaries, even in the writings. Otherwise it’s a free for all thinking.

  30. Pink Martini says:

    Purple haze 1

    Second home reading of the text “I was well acquainted…”after Saturday’s meeting

    Quand on pratique le slow reading on se sent souvent bloqués. On est là, ensemble, à chercher à extraire encore et encore du sens à un texte dont on pense avoir déjà tout dit.

    Hier je voyais cette relation entre ce que je pense être une petite fille et l’amie de sa mère comme, en partie en tous cas, conflictuelle. Après la discussion de groupe j’apprends de Blue Cloudy qu’on peut lire le texte différemment et qu’on peut voir entre les deux protagonistes une relation de respect. J’en ai retiré que je pouvais avoir lu avec les verres teintés de ma propre expérience. C’est exactement ce qui s’est passé. Cette nuit là, aux aurores, je me suis mise à évoquer des souvenirs fort lointains, puis à associer ces derniers à des évènements plus récents où les composantes étaient en tous points semblables. J’ai été frappée par la similitude de tous ces évènements, le lointain et le moins lointain avec la lecture d’hier.

    Je me suis rendormie, me suis levée, puis plus tard ai fait une relecture du texte. Cette fois-ci, à mon grand étonnement, je n’ai pas vu d’antagonisme entre les deux personnages. Je suis restée cependant sans réaction devant la dernière partie du texte, celle concernant le “kissing”. Jusqu’à présent je suis partie du principe que c’est la Lorna adulte qui adore embrasser les petites filles sur la bouche. Et si c’était la Lorna petite fille? Le texte me paraît ambigü sur ce point.

    Pink Martini

  31. Pink Martini says:

    Purple Haze 1

    First home reading of the text “I as well acquainted…” after saturday’s meeting

    There is only one sentence I can really relate to in this text and that is the one where Lorna teaches the narrator about erosion in the desert, about ghosts living in the stone and dust. You can imagine the adult telling stories to the attentive child with grandiloquence and drama.
    The rest for me is still questioning and guessing. As I said earlier this afternoon my guess is that the narrator is a young girl and that she is interested in Lorna’s stories But she is reluctant too: “She is inventing” “I know better” I don’t like that, and besides, I hate her barking at me.
    Child’s duality or more than that?

    Pink Martini

  32. Literary exercise

    Albion – On re-reading the passage: “The desert is indescribable…..”

    1st reading of the text

    The imagery of the great tree of life is the clarity punctuation mark of this text. The pursuit of the tree provides the motivation she needs to escape and the form of the tree provides the blueprint to the truth she yearns for. This passage evokes escapism memories: some running away, some delaying the inevitable. There’s an adrenaline rush in those moments of spontaneity that gives you the alertness to drive across provinces and countries, to change landscapes and climates and find something that you’ll never take for granted.

    2nd reading of the text

    From the simplicity of the sun rising over the horizon there’s an emergent warm texture in the rocks. The morning light slices through our atmosphere, exploring all manner of trajectories and arrangements which form deep tones and hues. The degrees of complexity collapse as the natural order projects onto the back of our eyes; the great tree of life is created and that’s all that matters.

    3rd reading of the text

    This seems so similar to the tone of a passage in Madeliene Thien’s Certainty (I will find it).
    The punctuation is sharp, with concrete and assured steps. There are moments when the silence in between sentences almost carries more weight in the description than the words themselves. There’s space to breath, space to think. Lines of spontaneity and awe stitched together with periods of rational. The grammar grounds the words but at the same time allows them to flourish, bend, adapt and resonate.

  33. Albion says:

    Nicole Brossard – Literary exercise #2 by Albion

    1) Is it a sensuous text?

    It could be. If I just have this brief piece it’s hard to say. Ultimately the reaction is contextual and relates to what the reader brings to the piece.

    Putting the kissing tale directly after Launa has concluded that this lady isn’t worth listening too provides an interesting pivot to the paragraph. Perhaps in the mind of the child the perceived lack of knowledge of the lady is related to her recklessness. She’s puting this lady into the Dionysian role as she retracts to the Apollonian. A simple naïve distinction as she tries to explain her behavior.

    2) Is it a sexual text?

    In part perhaps, but I’m not sure as a single label of “sexual text” does it justice. There are many other possible interpretations of Launa’s Mother’s friend’s adolescent actions. Sexual doesn’t need to be the single urge for her to do this. It could be sexual, exciting, empowering, selfish, confusion, hope, escapism, a cry for help etc. It could be all manner of things.

    3) Is it a feminist text?

    We don’t know the context for this piece so the degree of shock these events would have caused her friends and family is unknown. For me it doesn’t have a particularly strong feminist connection, I think it’s more liberalism. There could be empowering element that motivates her to do this, but it might not be an equality question but more of self-discovery or chasing identify.

    4) Is it a lesbian text?

    Maybe, who cares though? She isn’t repressed which is pretty great. The question is whether it is a natural sexual urge or an empowering urge or both or something else? I don’t subscribe to the black and white, straight and homosexual distinction. Why does it even need to have the distinction of being lesbian, what does that prove?

  34. Blue-cloudy says:

    Nicole Brossard – Literary exercise #2 Blue-Cloudy – Feb 5, 2011

    1. Is this text sensuous?

    I find this text aesthetically pleasing as well as appreciative of qualities perceived by the senses, therefore sensuous. The beauty of the language pulls the reader in, concrete imagery anchors thought sensuously, connotative leaps toward abstraction ground themselves in sensuous particulars. As far as aesthetic beauty goes, this has much to do with form & cadence, with subject matter evoking relatively harsh elements as well as lovely ones. The whole question of whether or not a text is sensuous, beyond the idea of being appreciative of qualities perceived by the senses, strikes me as quite subjective, having a lot to do with the mindset of the reader, how enamoured of cadence & metaphor a given reader is, how particular suggestions please or displease, etc…

    2. Is this text sexual?

    References to young girls kissing each other on the mouth evokes the sexual quite explicitly, even if there is something rather “innocent” about the references. Innocence & sexuality need not be considered mutually exclusive in contexts where children are at issue. The text includes no editorial commentary re the kissing, making the latter described but not judged. This actually relates to the 4rth question of whether this text is lesbian – that is, one could call the passage lesbian for it’s non-judgemental inclusion of girls kissing. Then again, does a passage have to be called lesbian merely because it brings lesbian imagery into play? I’m a little uncomfortable drawing such a conclusion, though I do get that talking of a lesbian relationship means something at least physically different from talking of a heterosexual relationship, making the mention of lesbian elements in describing a book relatively important. We surely all know, however, that an explicitly lesbian or gay love poem, say, can speak deeply to a heterosexual & vice versa. Perhaps it is all a continuum where sexuality is involved, so that even if gay, lesbian, & heterosexual have a useful place as descriptive identifiers in the language, text itself cannot be boxed so easily. I think I’d be more prone to saying that the passage contains erotic elements, rather than saying it is lesbian, which seems almost reductive – hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm …

    3. Is this text feminist?

    I have to say that if we are using the term “feminist” to suggest truthful portraying of female characters, then yes, I’d call it feminist. Since both men & women can be feminists, I think a text portraying male characters could possibly be called feminist as well, whether written by a man or a woman, when anchored in a feminist philosophy. In creative fictional text, the layers are studded with philosophical insinuations by definition, some less so than others, however, depending to a large extent on how much editorial commentary is included. Various characters can be feminist or no in the same novel obviously. The voice, nevertheless, usually suggests a viewpoint, even if trying for supposed objectivity. The passage in question for me suggests feminist undertones, even though there are no overt clues, beyond the lack of comment suggesting lesbianism is “wrong”, which could be suggested by many different kinds of non-feminist philosophy, though of course feminism is not the only philosophy today that doesn’t see sexual orientation as a moral issue…

    4. Is this text lesbian?

    (see answer to question #2)

  35. Albion says:

    After the 1st seminar of Purple Haze

    Literary devices, motifs and craft with an emergent Dionysus – sipping a pink martini. Miracles and gods spontaneously appear; a form of consolation for the fear created by desire. Finite replaces infinite, infinite replaces finite, Helicopters replace colours, horizons replace parking lots, actors exit the pictures, and a crisis of certainty is challenged by warmth and spirit.

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