An idea for a post appeared to me while watching Being John Malkovich by Spike Jonze. The director’s first feature film, the movie was released in 1999 and, with the full weight of my ten years, I still remember my emotion while leaving the dark room.
John Cusack, Cameron Diaz, and Catherine Keener played opposite John Malkovich who portrayed a satirical version of himself.

Short synopsis:
Craig Schwartz (Cusack), a puppeteer, tries to cope with the financial difficulties his couple is having. Randomly doing an odd job, the artist discovers a portal leading into the mind of actor John Malkovich.

So what would strangers see if they’d “enter” my mind?

I suggest you join me for a day in my life as an author!

Please note this is obviously an “ideal” day during which everything is going for the best… No paperwork, no sales on the phone, nothing but the pleasure of writing, learning, and living.

7am: « Waking up is looking for the world. » (Alain)

While my better half jumps out of bed in the second (which for me is synonymous with absolute courage), I first need un câlin de Nox, notre bébé chien, et une bonne vingtaine de minutes pour envisager, potentiellement, qu’il est l’heure de se lever.

7.30am: « Coffee must be black as hell, strong as death, and sweet as love.» (Turkish proverb)

Before climbing on his exercise bike (another proof of his bravery!), my husband makes me a good coffee every morning, the curls of which give me enough energy to overcome the sweet idleness in which I roll without shame.

8am: « The writing has taken hold of me and put everything that doesn’t concern it in suspension. Put in parentheses, I reduce myself to a scribe, a hand in the service of an emergency: the characters who want to exist, the story that wants to find its words. »(Éric-Emmanuel Schmitt)

I quickly get ready and sit in front of the desk inherited from my grandfather, the only place where I can work with confidence. Nox seated on my knees, I open the document containing my latest manuscript and…

I write. Erase, correct.

Start over.

Cry also, sometimes.

And then, I understand that the words, the emotions, the horrors come from my characters, not me, and I forgive myself.

Everyday, I forgive myself.

11am: « Walking is not a simple therapy but a poetic activity that can heal the world of its words. » (Bruce Chatwin)

Uncomfortably settled on my treadmill, I try to make the exercise morally bearable; I look at my emails, compose my posts and complete my dear bilingual monthly newsletter entitled A Descent into the Maelström! In the latter, I enjoy sharing special moments of life with you. Don’t hesitate to subscribe: it’s free!

1pm: « A meal is tasteless, if it is not seasoned with a touch of madness. » (Erasmus)

My husband and I have lunch together and share our mornings with each other. Morgan decided to resume his studies: he is also enrolled in a Bachelor of Psychology, but at a different university than mine. We discuss our courses and have fun comparing our notes on this or that other subject.
I may write about our respective journeys soon…

2pm: « Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together. » (John Ruskin)

A childhood dream came true when I joined the École des Beaux-Arts in Toulouse! The course for adults in which I participate is called The Wandering Drawing: our teacher, Raphaël Larre, a superb artist who “approaches drawing as a daily writing in direct contact with reality and the living”, describes his teaching as follows:

Drawing is envisioned by learning the basics: anatomy, portraiture, light and shadow, perspective, rapid drawing.
The transmission of these fundamentals aims to draw in an uninhibited and free manner what we see, emphasizing the drawn notebook and its mobility, the sketch.

My classes are on Fridays, however I try to find a few moments each day to doodle in a sketchbook.

I share with you my very first drawing; far from being perfect and designed “in an uninhibited and free manner” (!), I’m still happy about it!

Please feel free to give me advice and leave a link to your instagram page and/or professional website.

We artists must stick together!

3pm: « At a child’s birth, if a mother could ask a fairy godmother to endow it with the most useful gift, that gift should be curiosity. » (Eleanor Roosevelt)

It is difficult for me to speak of “resumption of studies” because I have never really left the benches of the University… In truth, I have validated a course to better integrate another, and this since the beginning of my higher education!

Also, I integrated the following courses (in chronological order): a BA in Art History and Archeology right after my high school diploma, a BA in French and Francophone Literature after a two-year break during which I trained in professional makeup (and it was very fun!), a teaching master’s degree (that, on the other hand, was a real failure), a BA in Musicology in parallel with a Master’s degree in General and Comparative Literature*, and now a double Major in Psychology and Criminology, in distance-learning course.

*concerning the Master’s degree in General and Comparative Literature, I had to give up on the way because of my post-first confinement depression… However, I still think about my research thesis project and will take this path again in the coming years.

6pm: « All entertainment is education in some way, many times more effective than schools because of the appeal to the emotions rather than to the intellect. » (Hortense Powdermaker)

Finally, The Songs of Twilight are resounding!

Obviously, we stay at home sometimes and enjoy a Netflix evening (we have invested in a projector that gives us the impression of being at the cinema every night… Magic!) or we slip under the duvet with a good novel; nevertheless, what a joy to embrace the cultural and artistic life that a city such as Toulouse has to offer!

We try to complete our outing schedule every week: we go to the movies at least twice thanks to a subscription that gives us unlimited access; also, museums often organize one-off events and gallery owners try to do the same.

As for the musical and theatrical scene, we are fortunate to be able to attend many performances for a low price.
On last July, 13th, for example, the Théâtre du Capitole hosted a cinema screening with live music: The Phantom of the Opera , an American silent cinema masterpiece directed by Rupert Julian (1925), set to music by Thierry Escaich (organ) and Vannina Santoni (soprano). Sublime.

As a gift, the virtual visit of the Théâtre du Capitole!

1am: « The dream is the form in which every living creature has the right to genius, to its bizarre imaginations, to its magnificent extravagances. » (Jean Cocteau)

The day is coming to an end and I go to bed. I hope you enjoyed this post and got a quick glimpse into my life as an author!

Looking forward to reading you,

 

Agnès Maelström - creditsCredits:
Cover picture by Julien Paoletti via Unsplash

Agnès Maelström is a French author who writes supernatural horror novels portraying terrifying characters dealing with abuse, violence, and trauma. Fascinated with the Occult, she has been studying Witchcraft since childhood. Her debut novel, Porcelaine, takes place in 1993 in Danvers, a small town in Massachusetts built on the remains of the infamous Salem Village. The quiet town experiences a new period of terror when Sarah, a young girl whose sharp humor is matched only by the blade of her knife, meets Porcelaine, a bewitched doll.

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