“Pierre Michon associates the vertigo of creation with a divine moment”

How do we do it ? His raw material is however common to us, to him and to us: the dictionary and the grammar of the republican school – with shortcuts, finds, of course, but finally nothing heterodox. Everyone is in principle capable of aligning the words he summons. However, only Pierre Michon succeeds. The jurors of the National Library of France – those of the Nobel missed their shot – have just awarded him their annual prize.

Where does he get this refinement and this vigor from? This rhythm and this breathing? This style, what, which strikes us and bewitches us. I remember rereading ten or fifteen times the first page of the tiny liveswith jealousy and admiration, in dark jubilation: I will never be able to write like that, but I am happy that someone else has.

A strange familiarity

This impression, thinking about it, this joy, I have experienced it twenty times, less jealousy, therefore less questioning, in front of the texts of other great writers that I love: Cervantes, Pascal, Chekhov, Péguy, Kafka, Proust. They all struck me with their aesthetics, their originality, and at the same time with this impression of strange familiarity, even friendship, that I feel when reading them: like the desire to hug them in my arms to tell them thank you.

But these were dead authors. Michon is alive. (I had liked Modiano, too, it’s true. But I was still too young – and innocent – ​​to be jealous.) Michon, I read it late. I was dazzled. And I wondered how it was possible, how we could do the same.

Paint like Matisse

Of course we can’t do the same. Who would claim to paint like Rembrandt, like Goya, like Matisse? Style exceeds all technique. Creation has something unique and inexplicable: art, the singularity of a gesture or a voice, are not just a know-how. (Even if the shell, the craftsmanship, is necessary and very noble. Without the craft, without the laborious first layer, no masterpiece has the slightest chance of seeing the light of day.

No offense to the immature, neither casualness nor laziness nor adolescent drunkenness has ever produced anything of value.) Pierre Michon himself, when he evokes the genesis of his texts, speaks willingly of work . But it also speaks of grace. He affirms that the beauty of certain pages is given to him from above: he holds his pencil above the sheet, he waits for the word to pass, then he grabs it and lays it down on the paper.

The enigma of literature

In King’s bodyin Three authors, he scrutinizes the literature, this enigma. Where does this breath come from that animates the words chosen by the geniuses that are a “good fat Elizabethan strawberry annuitant” (Shakespeare) or a “little young man reputed to be a failure, drunk and mythomaniac” (Faulkner), and who wrote immortal texts? The vertigo of creation, Michon clearly associates it with a divine moment: “What day did Proust have the idea of ​​Charlus? Melville, of Ahab? (…) What day did Balzac see Vautrin pass? (…) What weather was it ? What was the fat man looking at? In which Touraine? In which Paris? (…) Was it sun or snow when armed Athena emerged from the thigh of Zeus? When Solomon had the idea of ​​the Temple? When Gabriel pushed the door of the virgin of Judea? »

By what charm does the sorcerer Michon, born in 1945 in Les Cards, commune of Châtelus-le-Marcheix, arrondissement of Guéret, give substance to the second knives of the Convention? By what magic does it suggest the frou-frou of an 18th century dress to the point of moving us? His art comes from God. It’s the only way. Corentin, the Venetian painter and revolutionary of the Elevenis as lively and brilliant as the Van Gogh of the Life of Joseph Roulin. Invented, but alive.

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