lunedì 15 agosto 2016

SIMENON SIMENON. STIMULATED AND SQUASHED BY AN ARISTOCRATIC THUMB

On how working with the Marquis of Tracy influenced the budding author.  

SIMENON SIMENON. STIMULE ET ECRASE PAR UN POUCE ARISTOCRATIQUE 
Comment son travail avec le marquis de Tracy influençait l’auteur en herbe. 
SIMENON SIMENON. STIMOLI E DELUSIONI DA UN ARISTOOCRATICO
Come il suo lavoro con il marchese di Tracy influenzava il giovane scrittore

Georges made the move to Paris sometime in December of 1922. Approaching 20, he had some cash in his pocket, a letter of recommendation in hand, and a friend to meet him at the station. He still didn’t seem to have any real game plan, but as he bounced from room to room in cheap hotels, he was already talking about making big money as a novelist. His references eventually landed him a position as “secretary to a great writer.” It turned out to be nothing but a job as “an errand boy.” In fact, the writer already had a real secretary. Notably, despite his animosity toward his mother, Georges sent a third of his monthly salary to Henriette. “Hconsidered it his duty.” What is more, he moved quickly to start his own family and within three months he married Tigy. Not apparently a marriage of love, it was a matter of necessity. “It was impossible for me to do otherwise lest I killed myself working.” Indeed, he didn’t want to waste time making his own meals or pay the high cost of having a housekeeper. 
Georges was soon offered a better job as private secretary to a wealthy, landed aristocrat. This employer was to earn the level of esteem that Simenon held for his father and his boss in Liège. “He was my second father, one of the men to whom I owe the most, along with Désiré and Demarteau. 
With country chateaux and city mansions (one chateau lay 180 miles from Paris and one mansion within the city of light), the Marquis of Tracy hired Georges to “keep an eye on things.” Georges learned the ropes quickly and worked hard, but he gradually became sad and discouragedDespite a never denied fascination for aristocracy,” Simenon found chateau life gloomy whereas city life was invigorating. He yearned to live in Paris and “feared being buried” elsewhere. “Writing was his only refuge, so he used it to fill his free intervals. To help in running a newspaper was one of the many reasons Tracy hired Georges. The newspapeexcited the reporter, but not enough to counter his growing feelings of boredom and wasting time. 
Importantly, his wife Tigy was not at his side—undoubtedly not a propitious situation for newlyweds. The principal reason for this was the fact that the Marquis believed “a wife should not in any way participate in a husband’s life.” In fact, Tracy never even met Tigy. Georges could not telephone her from the chateau and had to find ways to meet with her in secret. Although Assouline attestSimenon was very lonely without herone can imagine the separation playing a negative role in their divorce. 
Nevertheless, Simenon concluded his time with Tracy was valuable for all he learned from him and how the “experience fed his inspiration as a novelist.”  It was while he was working for and with Tracy that Georges “crossed the line.” In fact, looking back from 54 to that period, Simenon commentedA time comes when everyone finds himself faced with the need to seal his fate, to make the move that counts and he will never be able to reverse. That happened for me at 20. So finallythe budding novelist left Tracy at 21 and “jumped in” with “an unwavering determination to earn his living with his pen.” 

David P Simmons

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