“ça t’arrive de penser Les connaître au point de savoir exactement quel est le timbre de Leurs voix ? ou t’attendre à les croiser dans la rue à tout moment ?”
we were 13-14 yrs old, this girl was in my class and she had been writing stuff since she was 9, she told me later. i feared her a bit, and i guess all the other kids too: she was tall and foreign, and one of the best students of this year of junior high.
one day, she came by and asked me something about the previous literature lesson we had, we talked a lot and came to appreciated each other. she was writing scary stories, and so was i. that’s how we became friends.
she was the first to hand me some of her writings. so i could tell her what my thoughts were about it. least i can say is that she had quite a mature handwriting, very arabesque-like and kind of too much sophisticated for a young girl of 14yrs old. she told me her handwriting was good because she had taken calligraphy lessons, and was also participating in writings competition, where she used to live before moving to my town.
and so, she was the first to introduce me to anne rice’s novels.
we were both thrilled to be vampires fanatics.
she told me she wrote novels about them: loved stories beyond the grave, drowned in historical places. she had quite the references and the style. we had passionate chats about how we saw the vampire icon and why it fascinated us. i remember she told me she knew her characters by heart and even loved them like they were real.
i was re-reading bram stocker’s dracula, watching nosferatu and all the hammer black&white movies i could rent feverishly on vhs at that time.
she had seen much more movies about that stuff and read so many things about vampires that i felt like a real newbie compared to her.
before meeting her, i hadn’t wrote a lot of vampire stuff yet. just a few pages. and my character building was lacking a lot of substance.
i was just trying to get better at writing scary novels, while imitating as much as possible stephen king’s style. (yep, the sky was clearly the limit for me at that time. and still is, i guess ; )
i had read for the 20th time at least, “le horla” from guy de maupassant (which still stands as one of my fav story of all time) and had decided to write a sequel.
i dashed the short novel off in a few hours, a couple of years earlier, and that was what i first gave her to read.
i was both thrilled & scared when i handed her the copy. she told me she’d be very critical if she didn’t liked it and that i was warned. i smiled anxiously.
after a few days, at school, she told me that my story was good and that i had to keep up. she had corrected my typos and gave me some tips to re-write some of my paragraphs. what a relief !
her prose was (of course !) so much better than mine. real mature, very well thought of. indeed her writings sounded like rice’s a lot, and the descriptions of the macabre love scenes were very detailed… i clearly remember having blushed while reading them. though i was used to read/watch some sex & gore in books/movies already, somehow what she depicted was way more realistic and romantic than i expected. and that, i wasn’t used to read (haha).
anyways, i was amazed of how she wrote and i told her right away.
she smiled and said that i was just a good audience, but i saw in her eyes that my compliment had reached her ego.
i had found only 2 or 3 typos, one paragraph that was a bit tad long, but nothing else i could criticized. her story wasn’t finished yet, she was aiming for a long novel, at least 200 pages.
(i wonder if she ever finished it).
one day, just a few months before the year ended and she was to move away again elsewhere with her parents, we had this very conversation :
“des fois t’as pas l’impression qu’ils sont vivants ? qu’ils existent ?
– comment ça ? parce qu’on les a créés ou parce qu’ils existaient avant nous ?
– non, parce qu’on les a créés, justement !
ça t’arrive pas de penser Les connaître au point de savoir exactement quel pourrait être le timbre de Leurs voix ? ça serait pas marrant de les croiser dans la rue, un jour ? tu imagines ?”
we laughed and it was fun while it lasted. sadly, we never talked again after she moved on with her family. she wrote me a letter just once, before leaving. it looked more of one of her character talking to someone than to me, or like a strange scene of her book, she seemed to have dismissed.
years later, i experienced something that reminded me of this very chat we had. i could never talk about that special “something” that happened, but once, someone i knew very well asked me what i truly felt about those very characters i created through the years.
i smiled and said :
“- They’ve saved me a lot of times from myself, and from others.
but They also tend to torment me too.
– why’s that ?
– because sometimes i can hear them in my sleep. talking to me.
– you know all their voices ?
– it’s funny, i do actually.
it’s even easier to imagine Them walking on earth, appearing among the crowd, while i’m in some random bar or place at night.
– your imagination can go that far ?
– somehow, yes. and further more…”
i don’t know if it’s a gift or a curse, to have that kind of imagination, to be able to create & see things that probably don’t exist for anyone else.
believe it or not, sometimes when i see Them suddenly popping-up somewhere into the night, Their translucent eyes locking into mine, They seem to slightly nod at me, before disappearing into thin air…
“(…) tu imagines ?…”
indeed, i can.
and my life has never felt safer since then.