Category Archives: Fiction – Writings

You’ll find me in Whitechapel

EN

The doors of the overground carriage shut loudly, isolating me from the still slightly crowded platform at Whitechapel station.

It was already late and I just wanted to go home and sleep.

I was trying to shake off my growing, unexpected uneasiness by staring at my phone and I nearly didn’t notice something was wrong until an emotionless voice stated for the whole train’s benefit: “Stepney Green”.

Wait… That wasn’t the line or even the direction I was supposed to take. I wondered how I could have jumped on the wrong train, but I guessed I hadn’t paid enough attention. I had to go back.

Chuckling inwardly to reassure myself, acknowledging that these things happen, that this was just the harmless result of my lack of sleep, I walked down a few badly lit corridors and waited for a train on a shady platform full of drunk teenagers. I was back to Whitechapel in no time. The platform looked pretty much the same as ten minutes earlier, albeit less crowded.

This time I triple checked I was entering the right overground, a weed-smelling train heading north west. I cautiously took my e-reader from my bag and started to read a nonfiction collection by Neil Gaiman. I let the stations flow past in a blur, losing track of the world around me until Neil Gaiman asked the readers to look around them and observe their surroundings. I lowered my e-reader and looked. That’s when I noticed I was going back to Whitechapel.

Not again? What had happened? Dejected and slightly frightened, with a headache looming over, I got off hastily at Whitechapel and tried to figure out what my options were. It was now too late to take another train. Was the ghost of Jack the Ripper haunting this station? I surfaced under a cloudy night, wanted to call for an Uber, but my battery was out and I couldn’t see any taxis on Mile End.

I took a perpendicular street, which looked older and more unkempt than its neighbour. It was a quaint little thing, cobbled and deserted apart from a quiet stray fox. Nothing there seemed to have been built after 1901 and some window sills were holding drying laundry. Utterly fascinated, I immersed myself in this unusual gas lit atmosphere and followed the fox for a while, until I noticed a decrepit sign adorning what looked like stables: “Sights and Stallions”. Interesting… But I couldn’t think about going home on horseback, could I?

I had mounted a pony once when I was eight and a camel when I was twelve. That was hardly impressive. But did I have any choice? Wasn’t it the time to be bold and daring? I had to try something and didn’t feel like walking home yet.

I knocked at a shabby looking door leading to the brick horse stalls. A tall, bearded man with a top hat opened.

“What do you want, miss?” he asked in what sounded to me as a cliché, Oliver Twist cockney accent.

“Hm, do you, by any chance, provide carriages or horses? I appear to be, ha, stuck here in Whitechapel.”

His genuine laughter, devoid of malice, filled the empty street.

“Sure thing, Belzy will bring you home. Don’t you worry about him, he’ll come back here on his own. And the first mount is free!”

“Thanks a lot! But I…”

“Don’t trouble yourself, he is very kind with everyone.”

This was all very surreal – the stallion was, I could swear, looking at me with a hint of amusement and everything was so out of place. I mounted the horse with indeed very few difficulties and Belzy – was that short for Belzebuth? – seemed to know instinctively where I was going, for he headed almost immediately North West.

After a while though he started to recede, his stride less confident, and he finally turned around. Nothing I could think of doing was working and the horse left me right in front of Whitechapel station.

Again.

Would I ever go away?

My heart racing in a panic, I just ran as far as I could, people looking at me weirdly. I stopped to catch my breath, panting, and found myself back to where I started.

*****

I’m writing this on a notebook waiting for the morning train, hoping that this time I’ll manage to get out. I’ll leave this on a train seat and perhaps if I don’t make it, someone else will read it and find me. I’ll be waiting for you in Whitechapel station.

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Asylum Stars – A Dialogue

EN

“So I’ve been told you’re quite mad, inmate.”

“Of course I’m mad. I’m the last witness of a dying star.”

“So you have traveled in time?”

“Don’t be silly. I watched it from my balcony.”

“Does it really matter, then?”

“Well, and you do?”

“If I… How dare you! I’m a rising star!”

“Yet I’m watching you restrained to this chair and you’re no brighter than a sun.”


I attended a very interesting dialogue masterclass by Claire McGowan – I’ve been trying to practice.

 

Friends With Benefits

EN

I wrote a draft of lyrics for my friend Klaim, for his song project Friends With Benefits – you can listen to the demo on Soundcloud:

***

A: We danced and we sang and we swam and we drank most nights
We couldn’t stay still at your parties, our bodies were so fit
Aroused by the earthquakes and the prickly pear bites
Did we really enjoy all these calibrated radio hits?

I just remember the benefits, can’t remember being friends
Did you know my name or did you just pretend?
As I was shedding my outfit under your burning hands
You thought it was a game a funny little trend

B: I was hypnotized, I was staring at you, swaying in the moonlight
Your clinking dress that I took, water over your bare thighs
With you in my pool on my floor in my room I always forgot I was high
But were we cool or just fools dying in the night

Can you remember we were friends, friends with benefits,
Or was I deluded, my head in the sand, lost in my own fame?
I think about us, about the band, ever since we have split,
We were living in wonderland were we to blame?

***

I went for a wistful, Californian-ish mood but it might change later, as well as the pacing.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy the demo!

 

Canal of Consciousness

EN

This is an “automatic” text, using the same stream of consciousness method I used here, for instance.

I wrote it in August/September 2015, when I was looking for a job in the London area, and thinking about living in Camden – I do now!

***

Flickering lights over all those bricks, I trick and play while I rent for mercy and delightfully stumble upon a dark material made of black rubber and velvet. I wish I could stay in those daydreams where I wander aimlessly along wide canals and shallow waters, full of dirty roads when the mind just goes blank.

I foresee the cast of an Iron Will, when I just can go everywhere and throw away anything that I ever made in Paris, where I wish to retain only a portion of what was left after you. Curly, long fingertips brush on silky skin while a shark takes its toll on a giant road full of stacks.

Be careful, my dear, for you are losing any hope you ever had of retaining a semblance of normalcy. Chaos, chaos everywhere, and it leads to a darker shade under the willow tree, the bridge where dreams and reality meet.

You stand proudly on a derelict path, waiting for your destiny to unfurl. Faithful to the last newcomer, you dwell in the suburbs full of hate and shame until you just can’t breathe anymore, your lungs full of crime and blame. Raise your anger my friend, see the red light broadening your way, guiding you to the place among the places, the one you were avoiding and craving for at the same time.

Urban Drift

ENI can’t stand my neighbourhood anymore but tonight it feels both great and wistful. On the piss-smelling pavement, old cats from decrepit houses are meowing. Suspicious dwellers close their shutters while teenagers play football on dirty playgrounds. It seems so grey and mediocre and meaningless but also alive and fascinating. At the junction between a real railway and an abandoned one, an open door leading to a council estate is daring me to enter.

And so I crouch alone in the dark, in an empty, post-apocalyptic looking courtyard, leaning back against a slightly mouldy cuboid building. I listen. The wind. Creepy noises in the trees. Trains passing by. Police sirens. A weird humming from a nearby electrical cabinet. The lights on the wall, dimmer than my phone’s backlight, don’t make this place more welcoming than a prison yard. Yet I’m not afraid. It feels right to stay here for a while and write. When I can’t feel my legs anymore, I just walk away.

(I learnt later this might be the place where a late great aunt had lived…)

Jurassic Coast

EN

Since I’ve been watching Broadchurch, a fascinating British series taking place around the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, UK, I fully admit I might have caught the “Broadchurch Effect“.

The coast’s cliffs are Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous. This is where Mary Anning discovered the first complete Ichthyosaur fossil.

I’ve written a very short text, inspired by the past, present and possible future of the Jurassic Coast.

Continue reading Jurassic Coast

Psychologie Potentielle – Nouvelle

fr-airshipUn petit texte écrit très récemment… En français pour l’instant.

Psychologie Potentielle

Continue reading Psychologie Potentielle – Nouvelle

Le Papillon de Noël – Nouvelle

fr-airship(Translated from: here, in English)

Au début, je crus que c’était un papillon de nuit. Dans la vieille bibliothèque poussiéreuse que mon grand-père évitait, l’insecte translucide voletait si vite entre les meubles Second Empire et les toiles d’araignées que je ne pus le toucher. Rassurée par la présence enveloppante des livres anciens et l’odeur familière du vieux cuir, je m’étais installée dans la pièce à la tombée de la nuit pour réviser l’examen de Probabilités et Statistiques qu’il me faudrait passer en janvier à l’université. Après avoir vainement tenté de poursuivre l’évanescent papillon de nuit pendant une demi-heure, je me décidai à rouvrir mes livres de mathématiques et j’oubliai bientôt le fuyant animal.

Mais le soir suivant, assise confortablement dans un moelleux fauteuil cramoisi, je m’apprêtai à saisir mon stylo plume lorsque de pâles ailes apparurent silencieusement devant moi. J’eus la sensation inexplicable qu’il s’agissait bien du même insecte que la veille. Mon grand-père m’avait laissée allumer un feu dans le foyer et les craquements sonores du bois brûlant me parurent soudain menaçants. J’avais peur que le papillon de nuit de vole vers les flammes, mais elles ne semblaient pas l’intéresser. Il préférait visiblement survoler une imposante mappemonde en acajou, comme s’il voulait créer un ouragan au-dessus de ce monde en miniature.

Je laissai tomber mon stylo sur la table et me détachai du profond fauteuil, scrutant les rayonnages jusqu’à ce que je trouve des livres d’entomologie. Je saisis délicatement un lourd volume tapissé de cuir sur son étagère polie et j’y cherchai des références aux papillons de nuit blancs. Mon petit voisin de bibliothèque pouvait-il être un Spilosoma Congrua ? “Spilosoma Congrua, disait le livre. Vol : d’avril à août.” En effet les papillons de nuit n’étaient pas censés voler en hiver, si mes maigres souvenirs de biologie étaient justes, et puis la frêle créature avait l’air plus grosse qu’un papillon de nuit blanc. J’hésitais à demander à mon grand-père mais il commençait à être vraiment tard et je me sentais mal à l’aise à l’idée de lui parler de mon nouvel ami. Je décidai donc de garder le secret. Après tout, l’insecte était visiblement inoffensif.

Pendant que je réfléchissais, il s’était posé sur les roses séchées que j’avais apportées quelques mois plus tôt, alors d’un bordeaux éclatant, et que mon grand-père avait oublié d’arroser. J’étais triste de le voir récolter machinalement  un nectar imaginaire sur les pétales morts, comme s’il savait qu’il n’y avait rien à manger mais ne pouvait pas s’empêcher d’essayer. Je réussis à m’approcher de lui pour le comparer aux images du livre d’entomologie. Il ressemblait plus à un papillon de jour que de nuit, avec ses antennes en forme de clubs de golf étrangement blanches.

Continue reading Le Papillon de Noël – Nouvelle

Textes inversés ou anti-chansons

fr-airshipPourquoi diable un robinet se promène-t-il en lieu et place de mon Zeppelin potentiel habituel ? Car il s’agit de l’inverse d’un zeppelin !

Dans le procédé évoqué ici, il s’agit de s’amuser à prendre un texte et à inverser ses mots, en prendre les antonymes. Certains mots, ne représentant pas une action ou le résultat d’une action, ou une qualité, ne sont pas directement inversables.
Qu’est-ce alors que le contraire d’une guitare ? D’un zeppelin ?

Peut-être peut-on remplacer ces mots par des locutions, des définitions, et tenter d’inverser ses composantes, par récursion ?
Ainsi un zeppelin est un véhicule aérien, donc un conteneur mobile de personnes dans un fluide autour de la terre, donc un conteneur mobile de solides vivants dans un fluide autour de la terre.
On peut inverser ça globalement en un verseur immobile de liquide inanimé sur un solide dans l’air, ce qui pourrait correspondre à un robinet !

D’autres décisions devront aussi être prises : inversons-nous tous les mots ou laissons-nous les petits mots de liaisons tels quels…
Et on dit bien inverser, et non pas opposer…
Un opposé de quelque chose en mathématiques, c’est “moins cette chose” mais son inverse est  “une chosième” : l’opposé de 10 est – 10, alors que l’inverse de 10 est 1/10 (un dixième).
De même, l’opposé de 0 est 0, l’inverse de 0 étant l’infini, mais l’opposé de + l’infini est – l’infini… Sachant que l’antonyme de tout est rien, on parle bien d’inverse. Cela servira au moment d’inverser des nombres dans les textes.

Ce processus sera intéressant à automatiser, notamment grâce aux dictionnaires en ligne.
En attendant, j’ai inversé deux chansons. On dirait des poèmes obscurs et un peu post-modernes.

Une chanson en anglais ici.

Et une chanson en français (comme c’est plus drôle d’essayer de deviner, la chanson de départ sera indiquée à la fin):

Continue reading Textes inversés ou anti-chansons

Reciprocal texts: anti-songs

ENWhy on Earth is a tap flying here instead of my usual airship? Because it’s the reverse of an airship !

It’s fun to try to revert a text’s words, to take their antonyms. Some words do not represent an action, its result or a quality, and thus cannot be reversed directly.
So what is the reverse of a guitar? Of an airship?

Maybe we can try to recursively replace those words by their definitions, until we can reverse it?
An airship is an air vehicle, so a mobile container of people, inside a fluid around the earth, so a mobile container of living solids in a fluid around earth.
We can try to reverse it as a still lifeless liquid pouring thing, over a solid, in the air, which might be a tap!

We’ll also need to define if we want to reverse everything or not the small linking words…
By the way, I’m talking about reciprocal texts in the title, and not opposite texts.
Indeed, mathematically speaking, the opposite of a thing is “minus this thing” while its reciprocal is “one thingth” : the opposote of 10 is -10, while the reciprocal of 10 is 1/10 (one tenth).
Likewise, the opposite of 0 is 0, its reciprocal being the infinity, but the opposite of + infinity is – infinity… As “everything”‘s antonym is “nothing”, we’re talking about reciprocals here (multiplicative inverses). It might be useful when we try to reverse numbers in the texts.

This process will be very interesting to automatise, thanks to online dictionaries for instance.
In the meantime, I manually reversed two songs. It really makes them sound like post-modern, obscure poems.

A French one can be found here.

And an English-language song (whose original title can be found below – no spoilers!):

Continue reading Reciprocal texts: anti-songs