The storyteller species* – Nancy Huston

We oppose in vain reality and fiction, this is what I will remember from Nancy Huston’s book. Any human group invents stories that imply actions from that given group. We are driven by stories, social background, country, religion, family story and so on. Stories have an effectiveness in our reality as they push people to action and structure our identities, to this end stories are very much real.

Some of us tend to “embellish facts” like the inhabitants of Marseilles as goes the French cliché of the South. They start from a fact and add what they experienced, thus making the story riveting. They are fully aware that stories are vital and create bonds. In the movie Big Fish by Tim Burton, a father gets on his son’s nerves who cannot seperate fact and fiction in his father’s life anymore. With the son, the viewer ends up realising how
disproportionate is the stress we put on reality/truth, when we should wonder on the liveliness of stories. It does not matter if it is not strictly factual! The tale brought closer together two beings. A beatiful plea for the writer trade…

*This is an attempt to translate the title of her book “L’espèce fabulatrice”, which I have not found online.
Here to get the book in French:

Pastoureau – words of colours

The little book of interviews with Michel Pastoureau is quick dive into each color through which colors appear as ever evolving social constructs linked to how they are created. I have read it again to write this article and there are too many amasing anecdotes for me to pick one over the others! I will thus let you ead it.

A detour through an Eastern African language shows us very clearly where the colours come from. In Swahili, only 3 colours are adjectives (that have to agree with the rest of the sentence): red ekundu, black eusi and white eupe. Michel Pastoureau reminds us that the 3 structural colours during the Antiquity were white as colourless, black for everything dirty and red as colourful. Can we draw a link?

The rest of colours in Swahili are made out of elements of the environment:
– colour of turmeric, rangi ya manjano, that is to say yellow
– colour of trees or leaves, rangi ya manjani/kijani, that is to say green
– colour of a prune looking like fruit, rangi ya zambarau, that is to say purple
colour of the water of peas, rangi ya maji ya kunde, that is to say brown
colour of ashes, rangi ya majivu, that is to say grey
Some colours are close to English, for instance orange, rangi ya machungwa,or close to French like pink that is to say rose or rangi ya waridi.  

You can find this book in anoy of these book stores: