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thierry kauffmann: Blog

Nashville meets France

Posted on January 4, 2011 with 0 comments
If you were here, sharing my life, if only for a few days, I would be having conversations with you, and I would share with you what is going on, what my projects are, things that go far beyond the ridiculously short 140 characters of the status.

I'm working on several projects. Let's begin with the book. As you know, I'm writing a memoir. It is largely about Judy, but not for the reasons you might think. It's not because Judy did such a great job with my CD, it's not because she passed and that I miss her, or that I want her name to be remembered. Well, it is for all these reasons. But I discovered another, far deeper reason, why I labor for the birth of that book. All of you who know and appreciate my writing, and I thank you for that, may have a hard time realizing that it is only after Judy passed, that I became able to write.

I had tried before, on many occasions, poetry, screenplay, short stories, aborted novels: nothing worked. Nada, zippo, zilch. A long list of failures. When I met Judy, I tried to write a novel in a month, the famous national november writing month. And I fell flat on my face. With a loud bang. Once more.

Then, after I tried to save her by donating for her surgery, Judy left. I fell into an abyss. Judy was everything to me. And all of a sudden, I write beautifully, effortlessly, as if I had been born for that. I'm a sleepwalker. I move through life toward the light, whether or not I understand that light. Walk first, question later. Which I did. I started writing. But now, as I probe deeper in my writing, I'm forced to face this crucial question.

What does it mean, for me to find my voice after Judy's death?

Was my voice given by Judy? if my voice was "born" after Judy's departure, does that mean, that in a way, Judy's life didn't really end, but continues in a different form? That she handed me a torch for me to carry on? Where does life begin, and end?

All these questions are answered in my memoir. By answered, you understand, of course, that I give my understanding of these fundamental issues. We're far from the initial project, which was a narration of what happened during the 200 days that I worked with Judy. That was easy! This, clearly, is on another level.

I know I can finish this memoir, and that it will be astonishing. Allow me to keep the mystery, but soon I will be able to share the result with you. I just don't want to screw up by only skimming the surface. This is too important, too universal. It's not about me, never was. But I must show (not tell, like I do here) how all these events and issues unfold in my life, putting myself on stage, in the foreground. I can't just hide behind "this is a book about Judy, I'm not even here". I am on the front line now, in the spotlight. This is an incredible ride, as I get to experience, again, everything I write about, but magnified, more intense.

And I need help, for that. That's why I read Proust, and Dostoevsky, and Toni Morrison. How did they do it?

Thank you for being here and allowing me to speak to you as if you were sitting with me. Which, for the time it took me to write this, you were. In a next note, I will share another project, related of course, another piece of the puzzle. Merry Christmas!