Literature as a European mother tongue: In our series “One is a CROWD”, we introduce you to authors from all over Europe who will be involved in the CROWD omnibus reading tour, taking place from May to July 2016, featuring 100 authors who will be travelling through 15 European countries. We asked them three questions about text production, reception and mediation. In case you were wondering what a literary activist in Anderlecht looks like, meet Maxime Coton!
Do you see yourself as an author? Are you the originator and main authority of your text? And if not, who is, if anyone at all?
I see myself as an author, yes. I saw myself as an author the day I decided to sacrifice a part of my life and my idleness to writing. Being an author is not a gift: it is the assigning of a function by an irrepressible impulse within us. In this sense, it is not very different from another profession or way of being. So, I am an author, yes, but I am also a sound engineer, lover, child and father. I don’t hold authority over the text. My only moment of sovereignty is when I type the first sentence: the incipit. Its particularity is that it’s a phrase conceived before the writing itself has been set in motion. In this sense, I control it. I turned it over at length in my head before writing it. Thereafter, when it throws me into the text, the only question I ask myself is: how do I get out? How do I break free of this form in motion, which contains both the map of its own fulfilment as well as an incredible inert force that blurs it?
Do you like reader comments and feedback on your texts? What could be the consequences of social editing?
I consider responses to my texts as necessary passages and time savers. They make me travel into the future. To some extent, they offer an insight into the way I might see the text myself in 25 years. Even so, my judgment will be still fairer than my contemporaries’, insofar as it will separate the consubstantial value from the mode effects.
Which literary event has fascinated you the most and why? (Please give a link to the website of the event)
This was a night of poetry, organised by the House of Poetry of Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines. It was a concert, in fact: one man and his guitar. Jacques Bertin. Pure emotion. He did not use his words to cover himself up. On the contrary – with each sentence he exposed a little more of himself: every word was his skin and I could touch it with my ears.
Photo © Felix Blume