Friday, 28 May 2010

Nearly the end

I don’t know how. I don’t know when. But I know I will! I received an email from the company manager of Noism, informing me that they expect me in Niigata on July 6th. That’s perfect. I don’t think I need to be there for longer than two weeks. Most of the work is done now, so it is wiser to cut the spending.
I wish they’ll be willing to fly me to Taipei for a stop over of a week or so. That would be the ideal plan. Still no answer from them, so I should be patient.
Anyway, I still haven’t really started to prepare for the move. I more or less know how I want to do it: hire people to pack everything for me and ship it to Taipei. The passport isn’t done yet. I’m waiting for some papers proving that I was born in France. The rules have been reinforced regarding papers and  ID. More often than once recently, I have been called ‘bloody Chinese’, something I haven’t heard since I was a child. Is that a sign?

... which means: "beware of [gorillas] humans"

Boulevard de l'Opéra

La fille au vent

Branches from my window

Île de la Cité


I’m half of a scene away from being totally finished with the music of the Tales of Hoffmann. I composed the first part of that final scene that gave me so many headaches. Jo liked what I did last. The big challenge is to know how to end that scene.  I realized I unconsciously made the composition process linger on and on because I was afraid finishing it too quickly will signal the big move to Taipei once and for all. It’s not an easy time for me. My mind had been drifting away, but the reality of my decision is starting to show itself in all its glory.
So I don’t know how, I don’t know when, but it will happen.
I have been asked to write a few comments for the program about the creative process in the composition of the score. I’m supposed to tell how difficult it was to compose music after Offenbach’s celebrated swan song. Quite an irrelevant question, which also shows how much people are in awe of past achievements.
As I did so when I worked on Salomé, I totally ignored the opera so not to be influenced by it (quite presumptuous of me to even say I could be influenced by it. I would never think of matching those masterpieces!) and tried to create a musical world of my own – despite the fact that I had to follow Jo’s indication very precisely. And anyway, if I had to take Offenbach’s music into consideration, I would have turned down the project out of humility. Many people did write operas on the story of Don Giovanni, even if Mozart’s masterpiece completely knows no equal. Isabelle pointed out that it would be wise not to call the ballet The Tales of Hoffmann. Maybe simply Hoffmann. Or E.T.A.


I also have to face it: my mother is losing her memory. Not all of it. But she finds it hard to remember things that had just happened. Her memory is perfect when it comes to events that happened up to a few years back. It doesn’t help that she keeps saying that her memory is bad. The more she says it, the more she believes it and the more she allows it to spreads. It pains me to see that. But I will leave her space and let her be what she is. I suppose it’s the same for a child: the more you pay attention to a problem, the bigger it becomes. You let it be and it becomes normal again.

A few cousins from Los Angeles were here in Paris for a holiday – call it holiday when it’s about running from one place to another in a very limited time to see all family members, with under-aged children to take care of…


With Tyler's little sister Zoe

My mother invited them a couple of times to come and have dinner at her place but she cancelled each time because she didn’t feel good – quite a usual thing she does.  More often than not, she gets ready for an event or a week end at friends’ place to finally stay home because of some sudden illness or weak condition of hers.
I came one evening to one of those dinners and made the mistake not to call beforehand, thinking that would just simply show up and join the whole party during dinner. When I reached my parents’ home, I was struck by the quietness. There was no unfamiliar car – not that I can really tell the difference…
When I entered the house, I saw my father’s surprised look then my mother who had nearly forgotten she cancelled the dinner. Since I had been quite busy with Hoffmann the past couple of months, it was a good opportunity to see them anyway. But I spoiled it when I could not contain my concern over my mother’s state. She was obviously forgetting more and more. Sometime she wouldn’t make sense and would repeat the same question within a short time, something I didn’t notice even a few months back. Was she repressing her sadness at seeing me leave and drifting in her own mind not to face my departure? The roots must certainly originate from a deeper past… She was always quite passive in her life and sailed through it without really getting a grip on the events. She abided.
My ultimate move may be to allow her to be her own person and stop seeing her through the looking glass of the son.
When I realized the gravity of her condition I couldn’t help feeling overwhelmed and tried too hard to convince her. Of what? What could I really do anyway? What power did I have? I had managed well from childhood until now. I spoke too harshly. My father tried to stop me but I didn’t listen. Until my mother exploded and started weeping. Then I had to face it: she was 77, she was no longer young even if she still looked great and dynamic for her age. But I couldn’t ask her to be what she no longer was. I hugged her apologized. I had no right to talk to her like I did. I still owed her respect and consideration.
I also felt miserable. It was as if I had lost her that day. Maybe in my mind.

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