The set context: it remains only to write … or rather to think about the mode of writing.
To write essays is to decide to invest one of the less popular literary categories of our time (with poetry and drama) and also one of the least visible on the booksellers’ tables which, if they put ahead some documentaries or books of politicians, do not always offer substantive essays.
Why ? No doubt because we are above all fictional beings: accustomed from childhood to consume narrative, studying at school essentially fiction (in different forms: tales, fables, novels, short stories, myths, comics , films …), we generally do not have, in our habits of reading, that of turning towards the essay and often of this one of it a limited image (it is the book imposed during the studies, of which the an abstruse language has knocked us out, or has been the source of so much information that we have lost ourselves in it: it is the university production which is addressed only to other specialists).
For my part, I always liked reading essays and have always considered that it was the geek’s own (that he is passionate about pop-culture, militaria or Mars) that to seek to appropriate in the smallest details his passion, by multiplying the research and seeking smugglers that would allow him to better understand the issues of the cultural object that fascinates him.
On my way, there were some enthusiasts with whom I could speak (hello, the elders of the Eye of the Sphinx who would pass by there) and others that I read avidly (Jacques Bergier and his Admirations, Stan Barets and his science fiction, articles on the small masters of fantasy, the one who is today my editor, André-François Ruaud ..).
I have always felt an infinite respect for those who brushed my way towards knowledge
Be it in the field of pop culture or the rest (I would not be the same person if I had not taken of passion for Jacqueline de Romilly, Paul Veyne, Michel Pastoureau, Alain Corbin and some others) …. and I always hoped one day, too, when I would have reached the dose of knowledge that I felt was necessary, to pass on what I was passionate about. That’s why I became a teacher, that’s why I write essays.
However, being well aware that I do not evolve in a catchy literary field, I set myself the objective of writing essays that read like novels, where pedagogy / information and playful reading intersect so that the reader, forgetting the form “test” and what it can imply prejudices or bad memories at home, learn almost without realizing it. My experience of teacher has played a lot in this “method of writing”: I like to make my students laugh to make them retain the essential information or surprise them, so that the “emotional shock” serious knowledge more easily in their memory. I write as I do classes or as I prepare my classes: by trying to convey as clearly as possible but also in the most striking way possible my reflections on a given subject, by weaving, over the story-essay, the information between they gradually build knowledge in the reader’s imagination, finding biases that will surprise the informed reader and lead him to reconsider some information … or hoping to find them, at least. I treat my information as so many characters who have to make their way in the reader’s head, so that over the course of the chapters, he develops a kind of empathy with certain ideas, that they are part of him (just as we wear in us characters who touched us) and grow up with him.
Each time I set precise writing objectives: for Pirates !, show that it is as much about the history of an archetype as of an anarchist utopia; for Witches !, draw a portrait of Woman and Feminism through the prism of the archetype; for my Roman Antiquity, make a nick at a book that I was forced during my studies and I hated. For Japan !, one of my main goals is to make you travel by proxy. I have another one, but this one, I will not reveal it to you: I will see to your reactions if I succeeded …