So, AIR. Not the band! They’re good but not that good. (#theshadeofitall).

We’re talking about Les Assises Internationales du Roman, a once-a-year event to celebrate words and writing, here in Les Subsistances. Free or cheapo lectures galore! I will take the liberty of translating it as “the Bedrock of the Novel”. A tad less scary than the title of the first lecture and encounter between Max Dorra and valter hugo mãe (small caps requested by himself) called Les Vertiges de l’Angoisse, i.e Anxiety and its induced “vertigo”. Consider yourself warned.

Anxiety, from the latin angustia = tightening. Universal feeling and totally concealed. A depreciation of the individual. And as the MC Julie Clarini puts it: more precious than obnoxious.

Good new is, and Max Dorra announces it from the get go, it’s not a disease! First thing Dorra tells his patients is: “you’re not sick […] it only proves there’s life, there’s a fight”.

So apparently, you can’t cure it but you can surpass it, overshoot it. Ok, but what is it, for realsies? The idea here is to view anxiety like an “edit of our memory”. Dorra the explorer underlines this in his book: “truth is only a part of reality” and to really bring it home – reality is different than truth. Ok, but what do we do with it, for realsies?

Well, they both have similar suggestions in regards to this. For instance, overshooting anxiety by way of dreaming and storytelling.

First of, lettuce clarify that we’re not talking about the importance of the dream itself but more about the work we can do afterwards: a cheeky game of free association with words, images… dream interpretation innit? The idea here being not the big ol quest of “true meaning of the dream”, but simply to summon what feelings this dream has stirred in us.

Another crazy bit is this sentence: “what’s hiding behind anxiety is a morsel of childhood, a bit of past dressed up as future.”

So, once again, we’re heading back to this notion of inner child, and its importance in our present. I was telling this story to an old friend of mine last week, Sly, and how I dismissed the idea when it was first exposed to me while in counselling in Ireland. I remember telling this fantastic lady to basically eff off, I was an adult now! Couldn’t give two shites about the little girl within me, what a joke! Eesh. I blush at the thought now. Saying that, the totes adorbz moment came when my friend (who knows me roughly for about 2000 years) near-interrupted me to tell me he found this so very un-me. Aww. Proof that you can change, re-change and re-re-change ad vitam eternam. Pretty neat, really.

Max Dorra et valter hugo mãe are joining their voices to tell us of the importance of storytelling, writing and reading as a type of action against anxiety. All that while being in touch and listening to your inner-child. A good start, if you ask me.

With this comes the end of their hour-long conversation and the Q&A moment. Of course, the question which gets all my attention is: “thanks I get it now but what is the body’s relation to anxiety?” And you’re never gonna guess this! Spoiler alert: you are. Turns out the type of relation is of simultaneity . Body & Mind, working in unison. Dorra explains that, to him, it all stems from Spinoza and his Affect Concept: “Anxiety is to memory what pain is to the body”. Yup, that’s some major food for thought. But not the anxiety-riddled kind of thought, if you wouldn’t mind? Thanks.

Next week, we’re still walking in the AIR! A birra snow to counter the heatwave in Lyon. It’ll be all about the second lecture I attended with a title nearly as dramatic: “When the past resurfaces, childhood and stories”. I know riiight? It’ll be ok though, you’ll see.

This post was translated from french. Original post here.



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