Faced with the virus, Eric Chevillard cultivates his writer’s antibodies

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Another writer’s testimony on the trials and benefits of his confinement? “Pity no, not yet, not already”, exclaims with us Eric Chevillard in the foreword to Sine die. However, from March 19 to May 12, 2020, he chronicled those strange days, first for the newspaper. The world then on his blog, The Self-fictitious. He explains, even apologizes, already on April 2: “It is by writing that we produce our antibodies. […] The writer goes to his page to forge his weapons and tools of resistance. ” As for the reader, if he has known since Queneau that “it is by reading that one becomes bindweed”, he is not unaware that it is also in this way that one builds his own defenses. Especially when the vaccine is concocted by a moralist as dark, tender and inventive as the author of Monotobe and that it is accompanied by the stripped and expressive line of François Ayroles.

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We find in Sine die our own fluctuations, transcended by irony, poetry and elegance. And first, in the early days, “the bitter and yet very real pleasure of the cancellation”, this relief which will transform over the weeks into exasperation or anguish. In the Chevillard family, there are five, two young girls, their parents then, in Guest star, Lachesis, a domestic spider, a friendly fowl who weaves her “silk domain” between the enclosed walls of the apartment and works to distract the prisoners from the boredom that lurks. Because everyone has noticed this disturbing fact: all this time is getting diluted. We were planning to repaint the ceiling, to learn Finnish, to play the viola da gamba, but it was already evening. The confinement is a long rainy Sunday, it is fought with the usual weapons: Monopoly, crapette, chess set with a machete by the tribal chief who has, unfortunately, only carved madmen. But Cioran had foreseen it, if the Sunday afternoons were to be prolonged, “it is probable that the crime would become the only entertainment”.

Revenge of the animal world

Among the Chevillards, we enjoy a garden, autarky is at the end of the spade, of course. However, how to accommodate one radish for four? Cabinets pour out odd objects that have a familiar air, but what can that racket, that ball be for? What semantic field cover the verbs to run and to swim? The vocabulary is eliminated, within the cell, we can only hear each other by rumbling, how will we communicate at the opening? Only the gags flourish, conveyed on the wings of the Internet, it is the gregariousness of the joke, the brotherhood of the derision.

The animal world, the moralist’s great helper, takes its revenge: in front of the window of the imprisoned pass the monkey, the elephant, the tiger, mocking and a little pitying too. It’s spring, nature blooms, bursts, breathes. Take away the man and everything is repopulated, it is also one of the recurring themes – confinement or not – of The Self-fictitious, this journal in the form of a blog that L’Arbre Vengeur faithfully repeats every year. In 2019-2020, The Self-fictitious pushes away a dead badger. An experience he wants to share: do not miss this triple daily pleasure.

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Eric Chevillard

Sine die

Drawings by François Ayroles

The Avenger Tree, 144 p.