August 12, 2008

Reply to "Yan, What Are You Up To Right Now?"

Today I took time out from a book I'm working on to put together an electric fan. Cheaply made in China but not cheap, and designed(?) in Luxembourg, the culprit this time around for providing the weirdest instructions, no drawing (can't they hire a damn illustrator?) and spectacle size screws that Joan managed to mount with tweezers. It works fine though, and quietly, making my studio a bit less miserable. 44º centigrade is not typical in France, even in Provence, in August. Forgotten in cars and garages, babies and dogs die. Old people die as well, but it's not quite as dramatic. Being old myself, I can attest to that, one gets used to the idea. At least I did.

The book I am working on, written by a Korean woman, an adoptee, tells the not so fictional story of a Korean baby girl adopted by French parents. Another Korean girl, Chan-Ok, also adopted, used to read many books in the Gallimard Page Blanche collection when she was ten or eleven. I illustrated all the book covers for that collection, two hundred of them over twelve years; that's how she first got introduced to my work. When she was a bit older—thirteen?—she wrote me a letter and I sent her a postcard back, thanking her, as I always do with children. As years passed, I did become an old man—not quite ancient but old—and Chan-Ok became a young and enthusiastic publisher, the one behind the project that I am working on.

It's summer, it's hot and everyone here is on their five-week vacation. Time for dinner: Ratatouille and eggs. The fan—a treat—hums away.

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