Pierre Pelot’s Identity Card

Name: Pierre Pelot
Age: It changes every day
Birthday: November 13
Education: Grade school
Diploma: Certificate
Favorite color: Glum
Favorite book: Les saisons de la solitude
Favorite film: Many
Favorite dish: Pommes de terre au lard [bacon potatoes]

The Best Place to Escape

I was born in this valley cramped into worn, round uplands.

These summits and valleys are not and have never been for livestock or crops, but for a long time, and for lack of anything better, destined to small farmers and artisans before the textile mills set up house. Today they figure on changing the mountains of the Vosges into tourist attractions. Not even one winter resort: the snow is no longer bound to keep its appointments.

So, here is the fledgling Moselle, a fragile river that glides between the humps and hills, lazes around, in no hurry, far from the men and women who govern us and say they speak in our name, with their drooling, honeyed lips, their sharp, hungry teeth, singing the same old lying song that disguises the profit of a few under the tawdry rags of so-called public interest.

Those who are proud of their cheap work became those who built the concrete and the metal frames. Soon just the pictures in our memory will be all that is left. The industrial zones and the supermarkets, the invading highways and byways are now electoral platforms for the pot-bellied deputies and conceited senators, objects of their base proud groveling, masterpieces bearing witness to their inability to hold onto (for everyone’s sake, they say) the fate of “my valley” that they are shamelessly mutilating.

With my ass on my slope, I remember a time not so long ago when this valley, protected by mountains sitting like big, quiet dogs, was beautiful. The village square was, in large part, shaded by trees that were more than 100 years old, surrounding the monument to the dead with their venerable wisdom. They cut down the old trees on the pretext that they were not pretty, twisted, not clean, not straight.

And today the serrated roofs of the textile mills sit on top of empty buildings, for the most part.

This country is the country of stories with which the lives of human beings are built. I’m here to relate them.

Stories—this means human beings passing through existence as best they can. That’s what interests me. I went to search them out in their burrows, these stories, poaching them, without a license, in my way, nobody taught me. Just use the way that’s right for you; that’s how we learn to catch them.

One winter evening, “they” asked me to give an author’s name to put on the cover of what would, then, be my first book. Being a writer is to break yourself in order to better accept yourself and what you give to your writing. It’s being hollowed out day after day, getting lost trying to represent yourself in the only way you know how without annoying others too much. Both inside and out, with and without.

It’s being an outlaw whom nobody’s tracking, who has no price on his head, no wanted posters slapped on the walls. Hiding among the people here who never stop escaping so that they, too, can survive, here or elsewhere.

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