The Funnies

In Artists, Circus, Current reading, Drafts, Hautvoir, Local projects, Radio, Theater on April 22, 2014 at 8:53 am

I read about the raging battle between Andrew Wylie and Monsieur Gallimard over who gets to do good by French writers. The way other people read about the marital sagas of splendiferous stars. The way I once read the funnies in the weekend papers  – Pogo, Littl’ Abner, Dick Tracy, Orphan Annie. The way I listened to the evening radio shows (before or after Le Chapelet en Famille at seven fifteen? When the faithful got to kneel in the living room and answer the rosary recited by Monseigneur Léger, directement de la Cathédrale Marie-Reine-du-Monde à Montréal.)

The evening radio soaps included Un Homme et son Péché (the man’s sin being avarice) and La Pension Velder about the characters in a boarding house owned by a Belgian lady. The writer of this one being – you guessed it – a Belgian lady. Her name was Madame Lucie de Vienne Blanc. A few years later, I met Madame when she staged the centennial event in a convent where my two sisters and I studied. My eldest sister was cast as a Muse, draped in a white sheet and called upon to recite something in a declamatory mode. Number Two sister belonged to a group scene of a happy throng greeting the foundress of the Order. I, of course, was cast as a clown – the slow-witted one among the children gathered at the feet of the foundress. I wore a red and white gingham pinafore. While the other children read along at a brisk clip, my job was to peer long and hard at the letters, and finish the sentences long after the others. The person playing the foundress was called upon to refrain her impatience, and smile with fondness on all of God’s little creatures. This constituted the moment of levity in the proceedings.

The draft – am I finished yet? I think so. Reading through to catch spelling mistakes, inconsistencies, bits that drag. After which I’ll set the date at the bottom of the last page and move on to the Fear, Trembling, Quaking and Stuttering involved in writing the dreaded synopsis and its faithful sidekick, the query letter.

I’m looking forward to participating in a workshop this summer on the Mecanics of Laughter (La Mécanique du Rire), directed by an actor in the neighboring town of Gaillac.

Last night, a diagonal read-through of a work titled Anna, soror confirmed something I’ve known for quite a while: the first woman admitted to l’Académie française, the great and formidable Marguerite Yourcenar, was not big on comedy.



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