Happy Days Tidbit #3 - On a Bench

by Laurent Graff

Moderator: Liz

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Happy Days Tidbit #3 - On a Bench

Unread postby Liz » Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:04 am

Do you think you can take another Google translation? This interview is worth it.

Lire : le magazine littéraire. L'actualité de la littérature

http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://www.lire.fr/entretien.asp%3FidC%3D37813%26idTC%3D4%26idR%3D201%26idG%3D&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=4&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3DLaurent%2BGraff%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26sa%3DN

Laurent Graff, with the bench of the writers

by Philippe Perrier
Lire.fr, September 2001

Saturday September 15, 2001, whereas the eyes of the whole world are turned towards New York, Laurent Graff gave me go on a bench, in the middle of a corn field, in a small commune located around Meaux. Its last novel, the happy Days, is the history of a man of thirty-five years who, after having bought his tomb at eighteen years, decides to live in an old people's home. At thirty-two years, Laurent Graff chose cynicism, i.e. the hope, to look at the life since the margin. Discussion and video with a hermit in love with the human one.

Before even starting, why to have held so that this maintenance takes place on this bench?


I have a passion for the benches and especially for this one. I observe it for a very long time, but it is the first time that I y assois. The bench is really the margin of the world, it is at the same time a step and a podium. It is the ideal place to observe what occurs. There, we are in full nature, it does not have large-thing there to see: cars which pass in your back, a cemetery over there, a corn field, behind, the motorway, an old people's home not very far. Here, I really smell myself at ease to answer questions.

In your last book, your character decides, at thirty-five years, to enter in old people's home. Didn't the idea nevertheless cross you the spirit?

(laughter) Not, that belongs only to the fiction. But one could do it, I got information. One can also buy his concession very early and to pose a stone with his name there. Through these two decisions of my character, I want to lead the reader to change point of view on the life, to look it by the end, since old age and death.

But why support where that hurt?

It is necessary that the things are black to try to see a light. My cynicism is a form of research. My goal is to find an interest with the existence. For the moment, I did not reach that point.

Just like your character does not manage to find epitaph satisfactory…

People engrave unimportant things on their tomb. My character, wants to try to him to exploit this space. All the chapters of the happy Days start with an epitaph in italic. I like much the first, “died to here Me is and buried as if I had lived. ”, one can take it in all the directions. There are other italics in the text which can also pass for epitaphs. My character is not afraid of death, it finds it only a little absurd, a little like a waste.

I am shocked to see that people die very badly. They are very astonished to die. For a certain age, it is necessary to try to sit down and take stock. The old people's homes are a very good framework for that.

The desires are however the same ones as outside. Alcohol, the sex… In my preceding book, It is ours, a character yielded to alcoholism. In the happy Days, a former alcoholic finishes by replonger. Alcohol reveals a person, like a bath reveals a photograph: it is a good means to be. For the episode of the nurse, it was a question of drawing a feature on sexuality from my character. I compare this woman who “visits him” to the placebo that the geignards in the old people's home receive… The love, on the other hand, interests me, that it is or not related to the sex.


To seek the love, to meditate on death, to live according to immutable schedules'… Your old people's home is almost a monastery.

It is true. My characters have something of monk. They are completely atheistic, but they seek a truth or a justification with the existence. They are reflected and cut off from the world, like the monks. Our company does not propose reception facilities for those which soubaitent to be withdrawn. The old people's homes are reserved to the old men. The monasteries adapt to the style of the day. In other companies, in Asia in particular, the Buddhist monasteries are opened with everyone. At the end of It is ours, one of my character finished on a bench after having spent several days in a forest. It was an allusion to Bouddha under its fig tree, but nobody seems to have seen it.

From which does your interest for Buddhism come?

I travelled to Asia. People, over there, attach less importance to the life than us. I attended funeral, they had burned died it and made small packages of its ashes. Then, they hung these packages with rockets which they sent towards the sky. Here, we have a too high opinion of the individual existence. The individual, for me, is not worth anything: he can die of the day at the following day and has importance only as a sample. What counts, be the human one, the universal one. To seize the human one through the individual, that, it is interesting.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
Parlez
Posts: 2503
Joined: Thu Sep 21, 2006 9:30 am
Location: Colorado

Status: Offline

Unread postby Parlez » Thu Nov 16, 2006 12:45 pm

Oh! I wish I could write like this! So 'off center', as it were.
It really makes you stop and think and try to figure out what's
really being said. I'm beginning to actually enjoy the
disjointed nature of these translations.
:lol:
I really like the bench symbolism. When Laurent says an old
people's home is a place to take stock, I think a bench is too.
You rest there, and observe the mundane world around you,
and then go on.
Keep these coming ~ the more I (mis) read, the more I'm
getting!

QotD: interviewer: "But why support where that hurt?"
"Belay that! ...Do something else!" ~ Hector Barbossa
savvy avi by mamabear

User avatar
Boo-Radley
Posts: 5358
Joined: Wed Jul 07, 2004 11:53 am
Location: Missouri, USA

Status: Offline

Unread postby Boo-Radley » Thu Nov 16, 2006 1:03 pm

Hi Lizbaba, you're right the interviews are more decipherable. Graff's philosophy of life at first glance would seem to be very austere, cold even, but I get the feeling that in fact he may be a man who cares very deeply about people and our relationship to existence both physically and spiritually. Thanks so much.

Live in Depp
Boo
"With this hand I will cup your.... Oh goodness no!"~~Victor Van Dort

"The theater is my drug, and my illness is so far advanced that my physic must be of the highest quality."~~John Wilmot

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Thu Nov 16, 2006 1:05 pm

Parlez wrote:Oh! I wish I could write like this! So 'off center', as it were.
It really makes you stop and think and try to figure out what's
really being said. I'm beginning to actually enjoy the
disjointed nature of these translations.
:lol:
I really like the bench symbolism. When Laurent says an old
people's home is a place to take stock, I think a bench is too.
You rest there, and observe the mundane world around you,
and then go on.
Keep these coming ~ the more I (mis) read, the more I'm
getting!


Sorry, Parlez, I've run out. But maybe my writing tomorrow will be just as disjointed. :eyebrow:

BTW that is a good analogy - the bench and rest homes.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
Endora
Posts: 16341
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 5:03 pm
Location: Darkest UK~ Down in Albion

Status: Offline

Unread postby Endora » Thu Nov 16, 2006 1:38 pm

Boo-Radley wrote:Hi Lizbaba, you're right the interviews are more decipherable. Graff's philosophy of life at first glance would seem to be very austere, cold even, but I get the feeling that in fact he may be a man who cares very deeply about people and our relationship to existence both physically and spiritually. Thanks so much.

Live in Depp
Boo


He certainly seems to be able to work towards that state of lack of desire that seems so attractive.

I like him more after reading this.
Work hard, learn well, and make peace with the fact that you'll never be as cool as Johnny Depp. GQ.

Solace in the flood

User avatar
ibbi 3
Posts: 25167
Joined: Sat Mar 05, 2005 4:18 pm
Location: Holland

Status: Offline

Unread postby ibbi 3 » Thu Nov 16, 2006 2:55 pm

With interest I have read last days tidbits ~ thank you Liz !
I think I must see if this book is available in Dutch. I like his comparison to the monks ... I can see what he means. Interesting to read more about his believes too , about the Buddhism. I've read many things about Buddhism.
( about the translations; I think it's fun to read your comments on it :goodvibes: - when I read English it's like that for me all the time , I mean I don't understand every word I read in an sentence , but I can understand what's being sayd and manage to write down some English luckely :cool: )
Joel:"That's the movies, Ed. Try reality." Ed:"No thanks." Northern Exposure

Charlene
Posts: 1407
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:37 pm
Location: VA

Status: Offline

Unread postby Charlene » Thu Nov 16, 2006 4:44 pm

Here, I really smell myself at ease to answer questions.


Now, we know why Johnny liked him. As a former "Mr. Stench", he could relate. LOL.

Ouch...I already had a headache...this has made it worse.

Frankly, I can't remember a thing about this darn book, except that I am so involved in my day-to-day life with elders in retirement centers and nursing homes...I could sooooo relate to the issues that were brought up. I remember thinking, this author has spent some time in one of these faciliites.

I will be rereading this book.

User avatar
gemini
Posts: 3907
Joined: Sat Jul 15, 2006 9:28 pm
Location: Florida
Contact:

Status: Offline

Unread postby gemini » Thu Nov 16, 2006 6:42 pm

I may be slower that some of you, but this one didn't seem to get easier to understand to me. I had to read it twice. Parlez's "disjointed nature" is an accurate description of these sentences. A few lines reached me and from them I believe he does have a passion for life but looks at it in a very different way. The last comment on where his interest in Buddism comes from is very telling. I know most of you read Shantaram and this line stikes me as very familiar.

Laurent's comments
I want to lead the reader to change point of view on the life, to look it by the end, since old age and death.

People engrave unimportant things on their tomb.

They seek a truth or a justification with the existence.

One of my characters finished on a bench after having spent several days in a forest. It was an allusion to Buddha under its fig tree, but nobody seems to have seen it.

I traveled to Asia. People, over there, attach less importance to the life than us.

Here, we have a too high opinion of the individual existence. The individual, for me, is not worth anything: he can die of the day at the following day and has importance only as a sample. What counts, be the human one, the universal one. To seize the human one through the individual, that, it is interesting.

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." Will Rogers

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.

User avatar
Depputante
Posts: 1337
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2005 3:48 am
Location: Beyond the paradigm.

Status: Offline

Unread postby Depputante » Thu Nov 16, 2006 10:03 pm

Ahhh! :ohyes: I really enjoyed this interview! Thanks! (I will need to come back and give it a more thorough read, and contemplation though!) :thumbsup:


I found the comment about the hermit falling in love with life expecially meaningful for the understanding of the book's charachter.

The Buddhism comments especially meaningful for understanding where the author's point of view is entertained in the book.
“The scariest enemy is from within. Allowing yourself to be limited and conform to what you're expected to conform to.”~JD

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:16 pm

Charlene wrote: Frankly, I can't remember a thing about this darn book, except that I am so involved in my day-to-day life with elders in retirement centers and nursing homes...I could sooooo relate to the issues that were brought up. I remember thinking, this author has spent some time in one of these faciliites.


And I'm hoping you will be sharing your insights in this regard, Charlene.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
Liz
ONBC Moderator
Posts: 12971
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 2:13 pm
Location: The Left Coast

Status: Offline

Unread postby Liz » Thu Nov 16, 2006 11:24 pm

gemini wrote:I may be slower that some of you, but this one didn't seem to get easier to understand to me. I had to read it twice. Parlez's "disjointed nature" is an accurate description of these sentences. A few lines reached me and from them I believe he does have a passion for life but looks at it in a very different way. The last comment on where his interest in Buddism comes from is very telling. I know most of you read Shantaram and this line stikes me as very familiar.

Laurent's comments
I want to lead the reader to change point of view on the life, to look it by the end, since old age and death.

People engrave unimportant things on their tomb.

They seek a truth or a justification with the existence.

One of my characters finished on a bench after having spent several days in a forest. It was an allusion to Buddha under its fig tree, but nobody seems to have seen it.

I traveled to Asia. People, over there, attach less importance to the life than us.

Here, we have a too high opinion of the individual existence. The individual, for me, is not worth anything: he can die of the day at the following day and has importance only as a sample. What counts, be the human one, the universal one. To seize the human one through the individual, that, it is interesting.



I think I get your meaning, Gemini, in terms of Khader's attitude about the ultimate goal for a larger purpose. His goals were not individualistic. I found this interview not necessarily easier to decipher but more interesting because it related to the book directly--esp. the Buddhist question at the end--not that it relates to the book but to our previous questions about his spiritual bent.
You can't judge a book by its cover.

The only thing that matters is the ending. It's the most important part of the story.

User avatar
suec
Posts: 1381
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 1:57 pm
Location: uk

Status: Offline

Unread postby suec » Fri Nov 17, 2006 2:06 pm

There are some very interesting pointers - once I can get my head around the trnslations! I suppose they are helping me warm towards him a little. Or perhaps not.
"Luck... inspiration... both only really happen to you when you empty your heart of ambition, purpose, and plan; when you give yourself, completely, to the golden, fate-filled moment."

lizbet
Posts: 679
Joined: Tue Jul 06, 2004 8:27 pm
Location: London, Canada

Status: Offline

Unread postby lizbet » Fri Nov 17, 2006 2:36 pm

as interesting (and frustrating) as trying to get to know this author is - for the time being I've just given up and am reading HD through for the second time just trying to understand Antoine's point of view (which is tough enough) - :eyebrow:

many questions have popped up this time through that I hadn't thought of before as I was too stunned at Atoine's choice(s) for his life and I just wanted to get to the end to see what his end would be - also I mistakenly thought for some reason that HD would be a comedy - it actually could be whatever you want it to be (comedy, tragedy, drama even melodrama or pseduo biography) - better stop now incase I'm treading on territory for later tidbits / discussion :blush:
trying to live in "a profound state of ignorance"

User avatar
fansmom
Posts: 2059
Joined: Sat Jul 10, 2004 4:50 pm
Location: Olney, Maryland

Status: Offline

Unread postby fansmom » Fri Nov 17, 2006 3:30 pm

Charlene wrote:
Here, I really smell myself at ease to answer questions.

Now, we know why Johnny liked him. As a former "Mr. Stench", he could relate. LOL.

I would have translated that as "I feel truly at ease . . " but what do I know? :blush: :lol:

User avatar
Depputante
Posts: 1337
Joined: Sun Nov 13, 2005 3:48 am
Location: Beyond the paradigm.

Status: Offline

Unread postby Depputante » Sat Nov 18, 2006 2:44 pm

Benches:
He says benches sit on th edge of the world, showing us a piece of the world go by, and they are excellent places to contemplate mere existence.
Interesting. I agree with the statement. And imagine the very different bench in Finding Neverland where Barrie sits and grasps the preciousness of life, leaving his old boring life behind.

Entering a seniors home:
He says that a person could do it, but that his novel is fiction. That a person can have their grave prepared.
Do any of you have your post mortem preparations already made? How old were you when you made them?

He says he wants to lead the reader to look at their end of life, and change it for the better. Ok. I'm doing my best. I think Johnny has done this and taken his life and change it.

Dark stories: Why support that hurting?
He mentions that he is endeavouring to find some light where only dark exists. And hasn't found it yet.

Perhaps that's why I too feel this novel has a sort of :-/ feeling to it. There is no funny anecdote at the end as far as I can understand it.

Epitaths 'here i lie as i lived'..
I think the transition of th epitaths are very important in reading this novel now . I have to go back and take another look at it.

He mentions: Sex, alcohol, and that people need to take stock. Even inside the home the sex, alcohol is the same. Ok. now I get where this novel is going.

To seek love, meditate on death Ok. It's getting alot clearer now! :ohyes: ((Edit... :baby: ...sucking it up..! Will give my thoughts during the book discussion.)


Where does his interest in Buddhism lie? He saw a buddhist funeral where the ashes were sent up in a rocket. An individual's existence is not as important as the universal theme of huminity.
I have never heard of a Buddhist funeral where they send ashes up in rockets. Not sure about that, or it could be the translation. Hunter comes to mind.Human existence is much more important than the individual's existence he says? :cool: :ohyes: ((...further comments hereby sucked up ... :baby: ...)) :blush: Can you tell I'm not used to book clubs?

Finally I am really beginning to see the deeper meaning of this novel. Great interview!
Last edited by Depputante on Sat Nov 18, 2006 4:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
“The scariest enemy is from within. Allowing yourself to be limited and conform to what you're expected to conform to.”~JD


Return to “Happy Days”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest