What I Could Do To You

gun

Would you keep me if you knew
I could shatter your heart into a million shards,
leave your skin dry under the hottest sun
like an old dead tree in an endless summer?

Would you fear me if I drew
a target on your chest, turned ink into a scar?
And if I asked you to, would you give me a gun
and look at my hand as I pull the trigger?

Would you love me
differently
if you knew
what I could do
to you
if I ever wanted to?
Would you lose me
into that storm
if I were free
to break you down?

Would you keep me if you knew
I could salvage your soul in a second,
silence your thoughts with my bare words,
fan the embers burnig into your brain?

Would you fear me if I threw
a whole bag of lies and stoned your innocence,
then laugh at the feelings scratching you all over?
What if I tied your wrists to invisible chains?

Would you love me
differently
if you knew
what I could do
to you
if I ever wanted to?
Would you chase me
into that storm
if I were free
to break you down?

Would you love me
differently
if you knew
what I could do
to you
if I ever wanted to?
Would you face me
into that storm,
and let me free
to break you down…

…just like you broke me too?

© Emilie

The Heart of the Matter

love

Some things are a matter of fact:
your mind, your soul, your heart.
They make you who you are.
Try to set them apart
or enter the wrong fight,
they will just strike you back
and leave a scar
in your life.

Some things are a matter of truth:
your loves, your hopes, your pains.
You don’t decide.
You don’t explain.
You can’t fly under the radar
or find any excuse.
There’s no place safe to hide,
not even in the dark.

Some things are a matter of choice:
the choice to be kind,
caring, faithful.
Or the choice to be blind
and cruel and fierce.
Pick a side, change the rules.
It’s up to you.
War or peace.

Some things are a matter of time,
they bloom in what you do:
building the world bit by bit;
holding a hand; filling the void
you don’t want to fall into;
standing on your feet,
rain or shine;
raising your voice.

You’ve got the facts.
You know the truth.
You have the choice
to make this time
matter.
Today, more than ever,
your voice
is power.

© Emilie

The 2012 Music Experience

2012 was a rich year in terms of exploring music, listening to new artists, attending concerts and randomly browsing Youtube in search of good musical surprises. Well, sometimes all I got was crap but I guess that’s how things work: crap helps you appreciate the good things even more when you find them.

Julia, who’s very much into finding gems and is kinda like my music guru, also helped me with what pleases my ears. She’s very good at it and deserves to be thanked. :-)

So here’s what actually made my year:

Mumford & Sons
I started listening to the band last March and I literally fell in love with them. I think not a single day has passed since then that I haven’t listen to one of their songs. Most of the time I put their music in my car on my way to work, and the magic operates: I get in a good mood instantly. For work. W.O.R.K. I know, right? Anyway, here are two of my favorite songs from their albums “Sigh No More” and “Babel”:

Florence + The Machine
Florence’s not new for me but 2012 marks the first time I attended one of her concerts. She was on stage at the Mainsquare Festival in Arras, France, last summer. It had rained a lot that day and I had mud all over my jeans. I was freaking cold, I couldn’t find my friends and I was lost in a huge crowd full of people who looked as terrible as I did. Then Florence came up on stage, started to sing, and as she was finishing “What the Water Gave Me”, a miracle occured: the rain stopped and a ray of sunshine appeared. The audience cheered with joy and it was just magical! It’s one of these moments that you know is gonna stay with you for the rest of your life.

Owen Danoff
‘I’ve been following Owen on Twitter for a bit more than a year now. He graduated from Berklee College of Music and has also a strong musical family background. Whether he makes his own stuff (he released his 2nd EP album in  Jan. 2012), records brilliant covers or supports fellow partners in crime, he’s full of talent and energy. Plus he’s got what I call “the nice guy look” – and i’m totally saying this in a good way! – which I think makes the whole thing (music, lyrics and singing) very sweet and genuine. And really, his very young age is not to be taken too seriously because he’s a prolific singer/songwriter/performer, and  for me it’s just proof that he’s got a very promising career ahead of him. And damn it, I’m definitely not born on the right side of the planet because it’s gonna be very tricky for me to attend one of his gigs any time soon. So keep posting videos on Youtube, man!

Mike Squillante
One thing leading to another, it didn’t take me long to hear about Mike Squillante since Owen plays and sings in a few of his videos. Mike is also a singer/songwriter, as well as a hell of a performer! Just like Owen, he is a Berklee graduate, and if I can trust what I read about him on the Internet, he does pretty much everything, from making his own music to the recording and arranging/editing process. For sure, he’s a star in the making! Wait, one last thing: *hair*. ’nuff said… :-)

[Oh my God, Lauren Ruth Ward’s voice!!!! ♥ ♥ ♥]

Jed Whedon
Though I’m a bit familiar with Joss Whedon’s work, I didn’t know much about his brother Jed. Jed, among other things, co-wrote the web-series musical “Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog” and also worked on the TV show “Dollhouse” before it was cancelled. Once again, Twitter is how I heard about his album “History of the Forgotten Things” (released in 2010) and “This Girl” (released a few weeks ago) made with his terrific wife Maurissa Tancharoen. I can’t really find words to describe his music. One thing is sure, though: my favorite way to listen to the albums is when I’m lying on the couch or in bed at night, with my eyes closed. Without necessarily being melancholic, there’s an introspective ethereal atmosphere in the songs that drags me into some kind of comfy state, and I just like that feeling.

Bon Iver
Justin Vernon’s voice is no longer to be ignored. His band, Bon Iver, is getting more and more famous and I’m close to being outraged every time I hear people who don’t know them yet (which still happens occasionally) (dammit!). Bon Iver is intimacy and introspection at the highest level. They transcend musical genres and have the ability to get hold of my mind in a way that sometimes scares me -which is why I never *ever* listen to their albums when I’m driving. So last July, my music guru (who’s also guilty of making me listen to Bon Iver in the first place) and I, saw them live in Paris. I was pleasantly surprised to see that their performance was very different from what we got from the albums. That’s amazing how songs take a whole new dimension when they’re performed on stage, with other nuances and beats and modulations. Live shows offer a different perspective to the audience and I feel like I reexplored Bon Iver’s repertoire that night. I really had a wonderful time!

Puggy
There’s not much to say beside the fact they make me happy every time I listen to them. Belgian band, British singer, 2 albums (“Dubois Died Today” and “Something You Might Like”) and catchy pop/rock songs. There’s nothing else to add, really. Worth listening to.

No doubt 2013 will be even more intense as far as music is concerned. I now work in an open plan office and listen to my MP3 player all day long to cover the background noise, so I’ll certainly have plenty of time this year for new musical experiences, like the ones below that are also part of my 2012 favorites.

Not Much

phone

Dear friend whom I haven’t talked to for a whole year and who calls me every December to put your mind at peace with your “Let’s keep in touch” principle.

After babbling about how Christmas went and how your kids were all too spoiled, you will – as usual – ask me the inevitable question “What’s new?”. To be honest, I always wonder why you even bother asking since you know my answer is always that one:

“Not much.”

“Not much.” Because it’s a more convenient answer than simply squeezing my brain cells sorting out what’s worth being said from boring normal stuff you don’t care about.

“Not much.” Because you’re not really expecting me to sum up the last 12 months of my life in just a few sentences.

“Not much.” Because frankly, you don’t want to hear me complain about my work or my family or the weather or you calling me once a year. This is the kind of shit I usually post on my Facebook page and you’re not even on my friends list.

“Not much.” Because the big things that actually occur are sometimes not as important as the little ones that would appear anecdotal to you, like this film I watched the other night and that moved me to tears.

“Not much.” Because I can hear your kids shouting behind you. They still don’t let you have a real conversation on the phone and you always end up saying you’ll try to call me again soon when they’re not home, when all you have to do – really! – is ask them the shut the fuck up. But I don’t mind you not doing so, though.

“Not much.” Because, you know, there would me so much to say that you should rather come to my place, bring a sleeping bag and listen to me for hours before you get a mere idea of what happened since the last time I said “Not much”.

“Not much.” Because your initial question was purely rhetorical anyway.

2012 is coming to an end and I’m waiting for your call more impatiently than ever before. See, this year, I made the decision not to answer it. It will be a “Stop pretending we still care” missed call in reaction to a useless tradition; something that is neither pleasant nor unpleasant but that apparently you think must be accomplished. Your “What’s new?” and my “Not much” will no longer collide smoothly as they used to in the past. You and I both know we’re not close enough to talk about what really matters, like all the sadness we had to overcome or the happyness we were lucky to get this year – and the years before when we never talked for more than 5 minutes straight.

And most importantly, I made the decision not to endure the irony of returning you the question.

We used to be good friends years ago and then we took our own way. Don’t take it bad but I feel like these annual phone calls have done nothing but tarnish what we had. And I realize I’m as guilty as you are: answering your calls every single year was as stupid as making them.

You know, one of my resolutions for 2013 is stop holding on to old memories that I share with people who’re no longer in my life. I’ll keep you in my heart, alongside many other people who crossed my path at some point and impacted me in one way or another.

Wait, you know what? I offer you a deal: don’t call me next year. And the year after. Call me in, let’s say, 30 years, when your kids have grown up and left the house; when you’re retired and have time to chat; when you have lived long enough to make the distinction between simple courtesy, curiosity, kindness and true caring.

Then I’ll sure be happy to hear your voice, know how you’re doing and what kind of a person you’ve become. And when you finally ask me what happened after all these years, I won’t resort to any phony way to shorten the conversation and will answer what, in the end, I’ve always wanted to answer every time you called me in the past :

“So much.”

“So very much.”

Sunday Heartwarmers #3

Killing the Sunday night blues…

Nothing Aside

I wanna write. More.
Miles and miles of words.
Uninterrupted.
Drown some in sewer pipes.
Meet dead-ends.
Get lost.
I wanna catch stars. Loads.
Take chances.
Breathe the moment.
Live life in slow motion.
Enter bookstores.
Smell pages.
Brush the fragile
Letters.
Leave nothing aside.
Hates or likes.

I wanna speak. Less.
Be better heard.
Comprehended.
Fly a kite.
Overspend
All that I’ve got.
I wanna go far. Walk roads.
Cross bridges.
Continents.
Be a bottle in the ocean.
Reach new shores.
Split sentences
Into mental
Puzzles.
See spring tides
Breaking dykes.

I wanna love. Often.
Never fear the awkward
And unexpected
Second sights.
Make things happen.
Give luck a shot.
I want my soul unshadowed.
Jump fences.
Feel different.
Trust my intuitions.
Open doors.
Collect pieces
Of occasional
Pleasures.
And let no one decide
What is right

For me.

© Emilie

And the award goes to…

“It’s really shiny. […] Oh, yeah, you should enjoy it forever, Elaine, but it’s where you display it– that’s the key. See, if you put it on the mantelpiece and it says to the world this is who or what you are and… You’re way more than this. Now, you stick it in a drawer… it says this is something you’ve done,  accomplished, and in a drawer it doesn’t tarnish so easily. I mean, keep it, Elaine, it’s yours. You won it. Just don’t hold yourself up to it.” ~ Larry Paul (Ally McBeal)

I tend to think that prizes are more gratifying for supporters than for winners themselves. When I was a 10-year-old girl scout, I used to refuse all the badges I was given, first because well– I was a rebel, and second I didn’t see any interest other than the possibility of bragging before the kids who didn’t get anything. [Call me Care Bear] Eventually, the only persons who were concerned about my rejecting all outward signs of recognition were my parents, but what they didn’t understand back then was that refusing badges was my very own way to get noticed and not fit in with the crowd… [Seems like I wasn’t a Care Bear, after all!]

For sure, awards and medals can be career enhancers, life changers, fame-boosters, money makers, ego flatterers. But I don’t believe they genuinely reflect the quality of the performances. I’m not questioning the pain, the efforts and the obstination behind trophies, but I think they’re also based on good luck: being there at the right moment, doing well when others are doing bad, getting noticed when someone important is watching, being drawn by lot. Whatever. Aside from work and talent, awards are mostly a combination of accidental events.

So what does that mean for an athlete to get a medal? What does it feel for an artist to win an award? Are people limited to being number ones, twos or threes just because they have gold, silver or bronze around their necks? Do winners feel they’re the best, even for a brief moment, because a piece of paper in an envelope said so? And do losers get hurt for not being put in the spotlight?

Is life a competition?

I have an anecdote from the time when I was teaching in a British school. One of my students used to fail most of her tests because she didn’t have an ounce of self-confidence. Actually, she was even among the brightest students I ever had but she was so panicked during exams that she couldn’t manage to think and answer questions properly. We worked on that for 2 years and she eventually got the highest grade in French at her A-Level. And yet, another girl – who had been used to get trophies of all kinds since a very young age – was awarded with the highest distinction for French at the graduating ceremony although her final grade (the one that was really important!) was lower than my student’s grade. Darn, this was so unfair! My student deserved that prize not only because of her grade but also because of the stress and fear she had to defeat.*

I do believe the real winners out there are often the most underrated, unawarded and humble performers. And I do believe that talent cannot be quantified by how many nominations or prizes that you get. I am not denying that awards are often well-deserved and I’m happy they can sometimes put things in perspective, highlight extraordinary skills and performances, or promote honorable causes. I’m just saying that prizes are random and temporary acts of recognition offered by a bunch of critics, a jury who think they know better [the “professionals of the profession”, as French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard once said] or a tiny part of a fanbase made of crazies who clicked hundreds of times on a name so that their favorite star could win a stupid popularity contest on the Internet. [Am I really referring to the People’s Choice Awards?] [Am I?] [Oh wait, I think I am!]

Besides, what do winners usually do when they get awards? A thank-you speech. And why that? Because awards are not just the distinction of one individual over thousands of others. All the thank-yous are proof that hard work and passion – when they go hand in hand – are linked to a whole lot of well-intentioned, caring and loving personalities. Passion is pain. Passion is sacrifice. Passion is commitment. Passion can be a curse for the friends and relatives of those who are driven by it. That’s why the “Awardeds” are given time for their acceptance speeches: to thank the people who made it possible for them to do their best job despite the self-sacrificing and renunciation of living a normal life that it implied.

Getting an award might be a consecration for those who invest part of their time to supporting and promoting the talent of someone else. They might even be milestones in the lives of those who get them – although I doubt that all the Michael Phelps and Meryl Streeps of this world actually consider every trophy as a milestone! [I’m pretty sure that during nights of insomnia, they count trophies instead of sheep] Awards might be something to be proud of but I think they’re just the confirmation that the path was worth being taken, not that it ought to be exposed to the public eye.

I enjoy watching sports on TV. There’s so much to learn from sports and athletes. But I also see how stressful, brutal and pitiless sports competitions can be. On the other hand, I also love watching award ceremonies like the Oscars, the Emmys, the Golden Globes and the Grammies. I applaud artists from my couch. I want my favorite actors or singers to win. I yell at the TV. I grin, smile, laugh and even cry sometimes when the acceptance speeches get emotional. But in the end it doesn’t make any sense. I mean, it’s pretty cool for athletes to get medals but what about the many others who spend hours and hours practicing, sweating, pushing the limits of what their bodies can endure? It’s pretty cool too for actors to win awards, but what about those who are running from audition to audition, or spending hours on set, memorizing lines, rehearsing, promoting their films or shows, not knowing if they’re gonna have another job after that one? And yes, what about the millions of people doing other types of time-consuming and/or physically-demanding jobs who will never get trophies though their work is much more impacting on the well-being of our society?

So no, trophies are never the answer to the pending question “Who deserves what?” because the right answer is “Support”. Some, like Meryl, will keep getting awards in the next 20 years and still look surprised every time, while others will keep being ignored from the award-giving clique. But it doesn’t matter as long as passion and honesty make them want to continue the journey. Let’s just keep encouraging people who are passionate about their work because trophies are not achievements. At best, they’re like bonus points – or marks of “gentle reassurance” to quote Colin Firth – in the never-ending game of entertaining the world and making people dream.

* Turns out my student became an actress and radio host after she majored in Economics, I’m so proud of her!