Life’s little pleasures.

Remember Amélie, waitress in Montmartre and expert of life’s little pleasures? There’s one scene where she’s running her fingers through a sackful of grain, and throughout the film, she keeps picking up flat, smooth stones and pebbles for stone-skimming on Canal Saint-Martin.

Do you also catch yourself having Amélie-esque habits, such as ceaselessly running your fingers through the tassels of your blue scarf, or feeling the urge to touch this whenever you see a reproduction of it? Surrealist objects are disturbing, it’s true, but I’d nevertheless like to stroke the fur-lined tea cup. Breton said of the objects in Apollinaire‘s studio, “ils prennent le goût à rebrousse-poil.” I like this expression, for it captures the slight uneasiness provoked by the materiality of some objects, a feeling of both attraction and repulsion resulting in a peculiar kind of pleasure, giving you the heebie-jeebies. Imagine stroking a cat’s fur against the grain; it’ll make her purr and hiss at the same time.

Do you also often feel the impulse to touch and hug people, but are too afraid to break into their comfort zone – not to mention the sensitive issue of cultural differences? Do you also sometimes deplore the disappearance of letters? It’s hard to imagine life without e-mails and the Internet, but I can’t help thinking how wonderful it would be to receive more letters like the one Mimi Parent sent to André and Élisa Breton in the summer of 1959. Attaching two dragonfly wings to the initial of “amis” – what a beautiful, touching image of summer, playfulness, lightness and friendship.

3 thoughts on “Life’s little pleasures.

  1. Beautiful post Marion. Life through e-mails and Internet is fast, too fast. The funny thing is that some broadband ads promise even more speed in the Internet. How faster would one want to check e-mails?

    What I miss is the waiting time between letters. Technological determinism has treated ‘waiting’ as a disease, something that should be cured by faster communication technology. There are things lost in this process of terminating the ‘waiting time’: the excitement of waiting, counting the time, imagining the journey (e.g. of the letter), daydreaming, even speaking or perhaps ‘ceaselessly running your fingers through the tassels of your blue scarf’.

  2. While having my morning coffee I bounced into this and you have a beautiful way with words Amélie is one of my favorite movies..for the whole simplicity of it.. I think that’s how we should carry our lives.

    Looking at little objects,poke things, smiling to strangers,giving a candy to a bum in the street, sadly so many things feel ackward to people that they are just fading away..

    As for the letters I wish to find a group of people who want to keep this alive somehow.. I agree with the comment above the feeling of expecting a letter , waiting for the postman every afternoon, It’s flawless..

    Adieu! and Thank you for the start of a good morning.

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