Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Captain Lacroix

"Captain Lacroix is an old sailor and his books are a feast. I’ve never had the luck to meet him. I looked for him in Nantes, at Saint-Nazaire. I was told that he is in his eighties and that he doesn’t want to give up. When he was no longer able to navigate, he became a marine insurer, and it appears that he doesn’t hesitate to put on a deep-sea diving rig in order to see for himself the state of his hulls. At his age, admirable. I imagine that the winter nights seemed long to him by the fireplace, when the wind from the sea poured down on his village of the Loire-Inférieure and blew around in his chimney, and I suppose it was to kill time that this man, who has knocked about on all the seven seas and aboard all sorts of ships possible and imaginable, began to write books. These are thick books, strongly built, full of solid documentation, sometimes a little too heavy but nearly always fresh, thus never tedious, all the less so in that the old seaman even searches out reproductions of illustrated postcards and photos of joyous ports of call of his youth, and he recounts things as they happened: his experience and all that he has learned and all that he has seen from Cape Horn to the China Sea, from Tasmania to Ushant, speaking of everything, of lighthouses, currents, wind, reefs, tempests, crews, traffic, shipwrecks, fish and birds, celestial phenomena and maritime catastrophes, history, customs, nations, people of the sea, relating thousands of anecdotes intimate or dramatic, all his life of an honest seaman carried along by the very movement of the sea and dominated by his exclusive love of ships. Ah, it is certainly not the work of a littérateur. His pen is a marlinespike, and each page brings you something, and there are ten big volumes! It’s as moving as it can be and as simple as good morning. In a word, miraculous. One touches the globe with a finger."

na entrevista à Paris Review de Blaise Cendrars. uma boa resolução de ano novo é ler todo o Blaise Cendrars (há muitos suíços interessantes?). Cendrars é fulminantemente interessante, a ler tudo o que escreveu e tudo o que fez.


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