Nicolas Gouzy

Their advice was: “Tell it the way it is”

How what is? A life that isn’t done yet? An unfinished biography of all the years I want to look forward to? Why look back anyway? Everything that made me, gave me my grounding, all the things that make me cry and laugh, everything I love. I’m living that today! History? Even my own, I dream it and write it. But I transpose everything and turn it round to face the future. We should have the power to write uchronia (glad to see that the automatic spellchecker in Word doesn’t even recognise this one!) or biographical oracles and dream ourselves old, on our deathbed. Not for me. Not now.

They asked: “Where are you from?”

I was once a brave young man, circa my pre-Cambrian era, lining up a science degree till the maths put me off. I became an archaeological jobber, conscientiously scraping away at the bottom of a ditch, a medieval refuse tip in the old town of Carcassonne. After that I dived headlong into what was to be my pleasure, my passion, the source of regret, hassle, stress and the reason why I contracted type 2 diabetes ─ in a word, my work at what was the Centre for Cathar Studies, and that took 25 years of my professional life. I put too much ─ or not enough ─ of myself into it to be able to make light of the association’s demise in 2011 for want of public funds. Today I’ve set up a cultural engineering business called Patrimoines d’Avenir (heritage for the future) and here I am, a “consultant”. I offer cultural consultancy services to people who are ill but don’t realize it. My speciality is history-telling, cultural fiction, heritage stories for all.

Worried, they ask: “So why do you write?”

My immediate response would be: “because I can read”. Apart from that, the reasons are black as ink, literally as it happens. Partly because I want to be acknowledged, famous, partly (too much) through force of habit, and partly because I’m pushed by friends and family, partly because it’s a personal challenge, partly because I can do it quite well, partly because I obsess about finding the right word, and to a great extent as a reaction to the way language is mistreated in an era where people can say like every three words and nobody will bat an eyelid! I have an eye for the word, words in my eyes and often the right words to say it.

They forced me to confess “Why Wadé?”

I had no misgivings. Out of friendship, for the guy whose idea it was, for the world in which the action would take place, for the project, for the hero, because he’s black, because he’s monstrous, yet still human, because he was betrayed. Through a taste for risk, desire, because there is nothing commonplace about being part of the invention of a comic strip with a French touch. Because I must be a geek who doesn’t know it yet, one of a whole generation of kids whose parents force-fed them on sub-products of the American entertainment sub-culture ( ;-)), because I’m regressive, adulescent…and I love it.

PS : Oh yes, I forgot. I’m also impenitently greedy, historic gastronomy is my hobby. I’m an idolizing gourmet, I love cooking for my nearest and dearest, and I also have a driving licence.

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