A clock tour with Jasmin Limans

1. What child were you? (character, personality, relationship with others, with the world, with the imagination...). And what adult did you think you would become at that time?

Jasmin Limans: The child, the one that I still am a little, sometimes. Jean who laughs, who cries, I don't know... With a little more confidence in myself, and above all, wonder. I loved life, the world. I didn't ask myself the question of God. Every morning was a joy, every day a celebration, the night a dream. The present was enough for me, I was never bored. When I had a little time, I made up stories. This is undoubtedly where the doubt came into me. The question. The questions…

The adult that I am is still this naive child, but more suspicious. I am still surprised every day but I put things into perspective, I reason, I am no longer seven years old… As a child, I did not wonder what I was going to become. Indian, adventurer, pirate, knight, Apache, smuggler... military traveler. I don't really know anymore.

I just know that I wanted to live in Morocco – in this kingdom –, that I loved this country, my country. This is what is still in me today: the love of Morocco, of these women and men, of this mother tongue which is both foreign to me, which I decipher but cannot read or speak. . As a child, I was an illiterate Moroccan, I still am. It makes me laugh now! And I still love my country just as much.

2. At what age did you start writing? And what did your first texts look like? Was there a founding element (a meeting, a reading, a film, an event, etc.) that pushed you down this path?

JL: When I left Morocco. I first wrote to pass the time, to get through boredom. Because I missed the sun, because I missed the song of the birds, Casablanca, Fatima and Reda, everything about there. My brother was too little, I had to resist, to have fun. I kept asking my mother: what are you thinking about? I also wrote for that, to calm the lack and the anxiety, to lighten the monotony, almost for fun.

And then also, there was constantly – there always is – this portal, this sound of a door closing, this tearing away from childhood, and this sentence from my mother: don't be sad, it's no use. nothing, life is an adventure, it only continues elsewhere. I wrote to also discover how life goes on. To no longer hear the doors closing.

In short, even today, I write. Some poetry. Perhaps because I would have liked to be a singer, I believe that there is a bit of that in poetry too; a chorus, verses, ballads.

3. Are there books that had an impact on you as a child or teenager, to the point of transforming you or changing your outlook on the world or on yourself?

JL: Books, yes, a lot. Treasure Island . The thousand and one nights. It constantly changed the way I looked at myself, at the world. Reading is the meaning that explodes, which reasons differently, which moves, which allows us to understand, or not to understand precisely, to face the question.

As a child, my father read Don Quixote to me and I loved it. Marcel Aymé too. But I loved reading alone even more. The diary of Anne Franck. The Rabbit of Austerlitz by Jacques Faizant, which I read at 8 years old because there were drawings and people drinking; It made me feel like a grown-up. Robert Desnos for poetry. My friend Silberman too, around 10 years old. Shocks. Tears. Anger. Of mice and Men.

Afterwards, there was adolescence and other books. I hated it. When I was five I killed myself . I generally didn't like the books that were recommended to me. Boris Vian and Heartbreaker on the other hand, it did me good I think. Brûlebois too, by Marcel Aymé. Poems by Cendrars, Rimbaud, Michaux... Then Romain Gary, and later Dostoyevsky, the Russians, many Russian novels, and also the poetry of Edmond Jabès and Aimé Césaire. Mahmoud Darwish, Paul Celan, and now Yehuda Amichai.

Yes, it still leaves an impression on me, and it continues to open my view of the world. It doesn't change it completely, it just makes it sound different.

4. What kind of books are you reading today? Are there any authors that you particularly or unconditionally appreciate (living or dead)? Do you have bedside books?

JL: I don’t read genre. I'm just trying to read. The living and the dead, yes. When I like it, when it surprises me, I also sometimes reread it, but not enough, not often. I'm too lazy to read sometimes. Instead, I try to take the time to encounter a novel. I miss Romain Gary, as do Dumas and Dostoyevsky. Kipling too. Simenon and the police are fine for vacations, but I don't take too many vacations, so yes, more like poetry, and even a little every day.

Afterwards, yes, I have bedside books but they stay on my table, I don't read them every day, but they protect me... And I love the Sublime words and idiocies of Nasr Eddin Hodja. I reread it almost every week.


5. What kind of texts do you aspire to write? And ideally, what would you like these texts to bring to readers or even to society if they had the power to act on them, to induce changes or awareness?

JL: I don’t know what I want to write. I'm not trying to find out. And I even admit that I don't think about the reader when I write. It's more like I'm writing a letter, a message without an addressee. Yes, a message to put in a bottle. I don't know and I don't want to know that. It may also be a form of prayer. Sharing. A breath. A fable or a joke. Laughter and tears. Sharing a memory. That's all I can say about that, and it's already too much.


6. Are there topics in your writing that are self-evident? How do you explain the recurrence of some of these themes and concerns? Do you fully embrace them all?

JL: There is no subject, only encounters, appointments with the moment, the words, the moment, the light and the emotions. I don't assume any theme, they impose themselves, they escape, they come back, nothing belongs to me, neither the words, nor the ideas. The formulas are almost all the same, it's just a question of arrangement and truth. I don't really know how to answer that...

Afterwards, I have my concerns yes; life, keep life within yourself, be surprised, share. Share even with an idiot, a bee, as the poet says, and often the idiot is me. I share my idiocy, my love of letters, of languages ​​that belong to others. My concerns: staying alive and dying every day. Magic formulas…


7. What led to the writing of the text Morning of Light ? Now that it is published, what message(s) do you think it contains? And according to you, what type(s) of reader can this text be addressed to?

JL: For the origin of the text, I owe that to circumstances: my first beginnings in literary Arabic, hence the title Saba el nur which is a greeting, a way of saying hello in the morning, like good morning in English, with this idea, this presence of light, I love it, there is also that for the evening with Masa el nur. And then places, a house, a certain light, moments, words with Marie – the one with whom I share my life –, thoughts that unfold like movements, dance steps in the snow, and Yoram , and Nejib, and my daughter…

And also, my hatred for winter sports. I hate winter sports, skiing, resorts, ski lifts, fluorescent suits, dark glasses, masks... All these colors, all this silver that shines and slides on the snow, displaying its social superiority.
In short, this question is quite terrible. I prefer to stop there.


8. Do you write daily and how? Do you have rituals, schedules? Are you more of a paper or keyboard person?

JL: I write, it’s already too much. Afterwards, I don't have any ritual, or it changes constantly. Before it was a way of drinking and smoking – a lot, a lot – while playing the cursed poet, the failed writer, the sad little child who finds comfort in drugs, now it's a bit the opposite. Soon perhaps, I will know how to punctuate my sentences and learn to be silent. To write in silence, otherwise.

And otherwise, rather keyboard yes. I pilot, I type, I dance my fingers on the keys of the laptop, and even on my phone. What horror... But there is always at the start a first movement on paper, a line, a drawing of a letter, a spelling.


9. What positive and/or negative things does writing give you on a daily basis and on a deeper level, in what constitutes you personally? Is this a necessity for you? Pleasure ? A way to appease impulses or sublimate suffering? A way to achieve a form of balance?

JL: Writing, I don’t know. A certain daily imbalance, a judgment over my head. The explosion of meaning, of the senses, even more than the disruption. It also carries me away sometimes, but it doesn't enhance anything, it rather keeps me going. It’s a meeting with the moment, that’s all, a prayer too. But I repeat myself...


10. What wishes would you want to make if you had a genius in front of you who offered to make 3 of them come true, including:

  • 1 for the universe, the planet or humanity,

  • 1 for people close to you or who belong to a group of which you are also part (family, friends, spiritual or intellectual community),

  • 1 for yourself.

JL: I really don’t know. And it would really bother me to be in that place and if it were possible to make my wishes come true!
For the universe and for my loved ones, love and peace, and that it still turns, that we dance in the light, that we accept life at every moment, what comes, in short, I don't have much to say.

For me, I would already have to find a wish that I believe in! No, I really don't know. Sometimes I already doubt my own existence and that of the geniuses... A jinn, at most. Otherwise, ride a horse in the sky, gallop across the sea and the stars, run, dance. Don't remember, be in the moment.


11. What would you want to say to the child you were if you met him today?

JL: So, still as stupid? Also naive? When will you take care of yourself? To others ? In the world ? You are no longer a child. Live now. Learn to be responsible. Come on, good luck! It won't be easy, but maybe one day you'll remember your future, and then you'll finally be calm.

No, I don't think I'll say anything. I would rather listen. And I would cry. I would laugh with him too. Yes, I would listen to the child speak. I still listen to it often.


12. A final word?

JL: Finishing is always difficult for me, I start again every time... I'm the child I was, just a little more stupid, a little less sure of myself. No, I don't know how to finish... Shall we start from the beginning? We say we have life ahead of us and we start again. We finish a chapter. We are going forward. We learn to say I. And we do what we can with our past, our memory, our future. We try to live. Sometimes we are alive, we like being alive. And then one day we die. It's lovely ? I don't know... The final word scares me. A dance, a praise, a form of Abracadabra in reverse. Yes, that's the final word.