May 26, 2014
It was a happy shock to me when I heard that my book “Sparks-Tastic” was up for the Prix Goncourt last December, but alas I didn’t win, due that that prize goes to French language authors, and somehow, even though I do have some French blood (mostly Canadian to be honest) running in my veins, I’m neither a citizen of a French providence nor can I read or speak French. But in spirit, of course I’m French. So I was disappointed that I didn’t get the prize and the fact, technically, I shouldn’t have been on the list in the first place. Which now comes to mind, I despise any hint of nationalism in one’s art or even behavior. Technically I’m an American, but what does that mean? To this moment, it still bothers me a great degree that no American has participated in the Eurovision song contest. What I find irritating is the case that a lot of European artists sing in English, yet, where are the Americans?
Miles Davis tried to get on the show in the late 1950s, with a pick-up band of Juliette Gréco and Catherine Sauvage sharing lead vocals, Johnnie Ronson (Mick’s dad), and Peggy Lee doing some scat vocalizing in the background - yet, unbelievably, they were not chosen to be part of the event. Although, and I do admit, that there were different nationalities in this line-up, but still, shouldn’t the Eurovision judges acknowledge the talent behind this one-off band? As an American (therefore a humanist) I find it totally disgusting how art is placed in a box, and not allowed to sing out, whatever it is in song or in my profession, words. And I should also like to say, not just words, but words arranged on a page in a specific manner.
Now, that I brought up this subject matter, I need to be honest with all of you. I resent being in contests, and then… losing. Why invite me in the first place, and then denounce yours truly by not giving one the prize that they so richly deserve? It’s insane! Nevertheless let by-gones be by-gones and focus on the present. As a youth I ran across an interesting street musician in mid-town Manhattan, who wore a Viking costume, and I was struck by his amazing music and being such an astonishing and forceful individual. When you take a walk, not expecting what will hit you…, well it’s a stunning moment. Now whenever I put my pen onto paper, I will not forget that moment, and will wander till I find it again.