Claire Castillon sustains her momentum – she started well – in French literature. Nothing seems to stop her. Earlier this year, she published 21 short stories in a collection she soberly named “Les Messieurs”. It is an outlet in which she imagined love stories between true young girls and true old men. Love variations were examined in her writer laboratory. Thought over but mingled, the experiences come one after another to create an alchemy she is the only one to master. She even controls the explosion. Her life is not like the usual daily lives of authors, since it’s made of all kind of observations and above all of silence. It is also inevitably made of writing. It is a profound and incontrollable need for this dreamer who, according to what she said herself, “continuously hunts what’s around her to live only 20 cm away from the ground”. Entering Claire Castillon’s world – her interior, this time – is like curling up in a light and old-fashioned bubble. It appeases us. And of course, it makes us want to open a book.
Claire, how is your typical day like?
First, my daughter gets up. Oh, I should not start like this! There is often the idea of my daughter waking up, so my internal clock rings before and I can work one hour or two before the unavoidable time of “Muuuuuum I slept weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeell!” that right away stops the process of writing. I start writing again when she goes to school, at 8.20. Then I write and hang around in the house. I always want to write, and sometimes the energy goes away, so I struggle against a kind of despondency. I have an extraordinary gym coach (Delphine Arras) who comes home. I believe the book progress more the day when she comes over. It rests in my head while I wear myself out working out. I go get my daughter at the end of the afternoon. I peel the vegetables in the bathroom while she is playing in the water. We have dinner early, as soon as her father comes home. Then we go to bed early, one after another. We do not go out. We keep quiet a lot, once her little voice is asleep. We infinitely respect the other’s need for silence, so we stay quiet together, deeply and lovingly.
When does the desire to write appear ?
It is always here, not like a desire but like an addiction: I recently found that this word defined my writing. I am not addicted to anything but this. I write naturally, it is part of me. I have to do it. It is just like walking and eating. It is unavoidable
Who inspires you ?
Sometimes, themes inspire me, and then no. They take too much space. I think my inspiration comes from my slight absence from the world. I constantly look for what surrounds me to live at about 20 centimetres from the floor. I believe this state of mind speaks to me. Talking with my editor inspires me. Looking at people inspires me. Looking at my mother inspires me. Listening to the people’s stories inspires me. But what really inspires me is walking in the mountain. Let’s say it inspires me with a time delay.
Why do you talk about me in your last book and particularly about their characters ?
In Les Messieurs, I did not exactly want to talk about men. I imagined affairs between real young girls and real old men. I had to describe them. These love variations needed me to keep my eyes open: I had to make experiences in my writer laboratory, to mix two profiles at random and invent the explosion at the moment of the alchemy… I had a lot of fun!
Which man marked you the most in your life ?
When he will have died, I will say my husband. Every time he talks, I notice his thought is unique. He never repeats what he hears, he translates it, imagines it, and all of this without blabla and logorrhoea. Actually, he thinks by himself, he really thinks, he reasons, and it impresses me. Moreover, he understands what is in other people’s minds. He is an altruist-lonely thinker. He taught me the mountain, the real high mountain. He is strong there, and reasonable. I like it. But as long as he is alive, my answer is: my father. Of course. He taught me the night, the stars, the deserts. I like when people teach me about these things I love above all and that I would never have had the idea to get to know by myself. Both of them are not very materialist, that’s funny.
Is there a restaurant to recommend us for a dinner for a couple ?
The Digue ! It is a restaurant along the Etang de Berre, in Saint-Chamas.
Credits : Eve Campestrini @thesocialitefamily