Growing up at the frontiers of reality

Growing up at the frontiers of reality

There is a lot in this little book. Beautiful sentences – often isolated so that we have time to assimilate their power – words told by an older sister to her brother who has just left Earth and the story of their shattered childhood, finally revealed in broad daylight. .

A multidisciplinary artist who became a writer somewhat by chance, Sylvie Laliberté was first a great reader. “Reading was like a place of comfort,” she says. I was allowed to go to the library, take the bus on my own, and pick up books. I read all the time, everything. I am convinced that reading has saved many children. “

The 61-year-old author did not study literature, however. Instead, she opted for studies in dramatic art and then moved to a visual art approach, opening the doors to performance and then video. “But in my work, there was always writing,” she adds. Lots of sentences in fact. At one point, I had quite a few sentences and I thought to myself: maybe it could fit in a book? ”

It is not in one, but in now four books that all these sentences are found. In I’m awesome, but it never lasts very long, his first book (2007), When i was italian (2013), I’m hanging on by a thread, but it’s a very good thread (2015) and I showed all my white paws I don’t have any more, a work also written in fragments.

“It seems that I think in sentences”, explains the artist from Montreal who, with each existential questioning, sees his thoughts transformed into sentences small works of art.

The big unveiling

If her family history haunted her, she didn’t necessarily believe herself capable of writing it one day. It was with the shock of her brother’s passing that the strength and need to tell her broken childhood story came.

“It’s a tribute, but also a kind of big sister gesture, to want to accompany him in there, in being dead,” she said. In fact, it is almost a denial. I didn’t want him dead, and I continued to address him. It’s like I put it in the book. “

This book, difficult to write, but essential, took him two years of work. Two years of writing interrupted by the emotion and the pain of the absence, where she gave herself the heavy task of writing “a long dead letter to announce to her brother that he was deceased”. This autobiographical story is also the story of a privileged relationship united by the experience of a childhood scarred by the mental illness of the father that we have spent a lifetime in hiding.

“We wanted to help each other and we’ve been doing that all our lives. When he died, it was a bit of a shock, because I realized that I was going to be on my own to know what I knew. Suddenly I realized that I didn’t have anyone to talk to about it anymore. And then death is still taboo. We don’t talk about it, as if it wasn’t going to happen to anyone. “

Telling this story to the I allowed him to do justice to the children they were. Those who grew up in a kind of fiction, bordering on reality.

“For me, it’s easier to put it in a book than to talk about it, to really take it on. To say that I was the one who went through this, it shattered this somewhat strange world in which I grew up. “

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