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French Canadian Literature
Conference in Tulsa Oklahoma


Roland Michel TremblayOh shit, I just forgot, I was supposed to go to a concert of The Sisters of Mercy on 18 April in London and it completely slipped my mind. I should be killed for this. 50 pounds down the drain. I wonder if I still can get tickets for that Erasure concert soon, I am useless. Oh well. At least I have not missed one Depeche Mode concert in years. I am listening to Front 242 right now, Back Catalogue, if you wonder. I am stuck in the 80s and early 90’s, I know. Something we need to worry about when we get older. But I was part of the Indie music movement in London for the second half of the 90s, which reminds me that I have not seen the movie that came out recently about it. I wish I could get into today’s music, I don’t think it is necessarily because I am getting older, I think most of it is just plain crap. Though I cannot get enough of Tory Amos and she is pretty contemporary, and loves Depeche Mode also, which is a plus. I enjoyed her concert at the Royal Albert Hall a few years ago. Music is something wonderful, it can be very personal and still say nothing, or nothing too clearly. Like poetry.

            Click here to see some pictures I took while in America

I wish I had this power to transcend the nations and hit you with great songs that could affect the lives of millions. I would not even need money for this, I just would like to make an impact and motivate people. Poetry is not as far reaching, it does not sell to millions and does not have 20 channels devoted to it on cable television. In fact, there is no channel about any other form of art but music on television at the moment, and they are mainly about popular music, which is of no interest to me. If you search a lot, you will find a radio station that will talk about an author, but again it is mostly about popular music, and even, bad music that records company pay to get played on air.

Moving from poetry to movies is very good for me, unfortunately you cannot decide tomorrow morning that you will make a film or a television series, these things take years of negotiations and most of the time you need to be hired or wanted. Most of the time you don’t end up doing what you want as you are always working in a team of powerful people who will tell you what to do and keep full control. Still, you can contribute to this impact thing on the nations, you still get your ideas across and you can have an influence.

I saw the movie Donnie Darko recently and this is the perfect example of someone who had a vision and realized it from beginning to end with full control, because it was an independent film. I wish I could do this sort of thing myself and perhaps one day I will. I am working at developing my own television series right now and I could again be contacted by Hollywood to work on a sci-fi movie or something. I am at the beginning of my career in this medium and it is very exciting. It is not music though, I guess you need to be born with it, like I was born a writer by some extraordinary twist of fate. I must be writing powerful things since many young people said that I had saved their life because they read me. This is the beginning of my dream come true, I am now recognized as a writer in the French milieu and internationally.

I just came back from speaking at a conference at the University of Tulsa, Crossing Borders, Literary Symposium. It was great for an hour to be with all these authors, I could believe that I was also part of the game and here is my work for you to understand and analyze, to be conquered and changed forever. You can read my presentation by clicking here:

PowerPoint presentation of Roland Michel Tremblay about French Canadian Literature (Warning, it is 1860 KB, 1.8 MB)
Excerpt from Encarta about French Canadian Literature (Ms Word Doc, 61 KB)

Of course my family and friends don’t take me very seriously, but then again, having worked on series now passing across America and the UK is not enough for them, nothing would do. A Nobel Prize would not do the trick, I will always be that dreamer who made all the possible sacrifices in order to reach some obscure goal that will never bring me any money. Recognition is hard to believe or understand, articles in newspapers, interviews on Radio-Canada did not do the trick either. It is a constant battle to be recognize as someone who actually contribute to society, to arts, and that is important. As much as a mechanical engineer building some fridge for an hospital, like my sister was doing until recently and was well respected for.

Life is a weird thing, we need acknowledgement from the people we love, help from our teachers and others in the industry, but that does not come easily. I bet that without Drew Barrymore to accept to do Donnie Darko the genius who wrote it and directed it without any actors being paid would have never gone anywhere in life. I can already imagine him flipping burgers, the very thing I am about to do in London in two months when I will run out of money.

Life has been good on me in the last year, I took a huge loan to write full time and I don’t regret it, but it is only the one step that can make me go further, and this is as difficult as the very first step. Especially when you do not get the recognition for your work, but that’s ok, I can live with that. If you don’t do what you know you need to do, do the things you know you were born to do, life is not really worth living. I will spit in every burger I will prepare, you have been warned.

At least I promised you the English translation of the Anarchist and perhaps that will be a success that will make me money. For the last month it is finally online, click here to visit the official page:

The Anarchist on the web part 1 and part 2
The Anarchist full version in Ms Word document

The French teacher who invited me to speak at the conference has proposed to translate my book Denfert-Rochereau, a novel that is perfect for the area where she lives, in Tulsa Oklahoma. It is very redneck around there, women’s rights are not so evident, religion still controls the life of many people and being gay is still illegal (one of the four states that has not yet changed their laws). The neighbouring state Arkansas has managed to ban Harry Potter, a decision that has just been reversed by a court. It tells you about the censorship that is still going on in certain parts of America.

Denfert-Rochereau questions religions, questions that sort of control that makes everyone’s life a misery worldwide. The only line of defence up till now has been the song Imagine by John Lennon, as far as I can tell. Literature has a role to play in changing the minds of the nations, in making people aware of the bill of rights and freedom. I talked about that in my presentation, about French-Canadians doing their own little Quiet Revolution in the sixties that led to an unprecedented freedom in literature. Scandalous at the time, not anymore thank god. The war is still not won, and that war is more important than the one in Iraq, I believe.

I am slow to get to work in English because I am so alone in English. Everyone I know speaks French and French only. I get answers, messages, feedback, I am knowned, recognized. In English my name would tell nothing to no one. Also, my English is not that good, not up to the standards I commend when I write in French. Though I am losing my French every day now, living in London since 1995. English comes more naturally, so who knows. I started a novel in English, The Relative Universe reachable here:

The Relative Universe on the web

You can tell me what you think about it, I will transform this into a movie script I think. Perhaps it will be made one day.

See you next time.

       Click here to see all the pictures on this page larger and more

Roland Michel Tremblay

www.crownedanarchist.com
rm@crownedanarchist.com
27 April 2003



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