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HAUNTED

by

Jacques Coulardeau



Paul is a man of conviction. He knows what he knows and does not easily accept to change his mind. Every decision of his is taken carefully and righteously. Then he is able to stand back and stick to his decision without any pangs of conscience. He knows what he knows, and he knows it well. Apart from this general stand in life, he is a salesman and spends his time selling crystalware and the sparkling limpidity of his merchandise is in perfect agreement with the beaming certainty of his mind and convictions. His life is one, full, unified, whole and without a flaw. Everyone around him considers his life as a perfect success and many in his surrounding crowd of friends, colleagues and associates follow his example and try to look up to him, stand tall and speak up in his presence along the clear line of justified conviction. Paul is also a very tolerant person and he accepts the shortcomings of others though he is always trying to help those others to correct their mistakes or at least what he considers to be their mistakes. They go along with him in a constant array of smiles and civility. Life is a real paradisiac garden for Paul.

That is when he decided, at the ripe age of forty-five, to change his habits by buying a house on one of the main throughfares of the city where he lived and worked, a house that had been vacant for some time and whose value had been going down regularly and steadily because no one seemed to want to buy it. Paul looked at the house. Paul visited the house. Paul fell in love with the house. In spite of his great experience in selling, he disregarded most of the warnings, or things that could have been taken as warnings, from the realtor who was guiding him through the rooms and explaining him the damage time had done on this house. The roof was fine. The windows were fine. The doors were fine. The little garden behind was big enough for Paul's dreams, and thus was fine though overgrown with weeds. The cellar, though damp, was fine since in Paul's idea of a cellar, dampness was a fundamental quality. He considered as totally secondary the things that had to be done or installed or repaired because those transformations and improvements sounded perfectly normal to him. So he bought the house without inquiring about the previous inhabitants, the past of the house, and he even neglected to read the outline of this past given in the salesdeed. Maybe he should have been more careful. But nevertheless the house was his in one single short week. That's how Paul went about his business : swiftly and with a lot of resolution. No doubts, no fears, no pangs of anything. He liked the house and that was enough for him.

In three months the house had been cleaned, redecorated, improved, brought up to normal standards : central heating, double-glazing, panelling, painting, a large and state-of-the-art bathroom, a completely furnished kitchen in some old traditional style entirely in oak. He moved in at the end of may and by the following week the next surprise in his life happened. All his friends and acquaintances were amazed because no one had suspected him to have any emotional or sentimental attachment. He got married with a nice young woman he introduced as his lifelong friend. She was seven years younger than him and she was an excellent cook. His house was finally alive and his garden was entirely redesigned with rosebushes and other flowers. He even planted a yew in the middle of it for a slow and steady growth measuring his presence in his house. His life had changed completely and that change had left his human environment suprised and even amazed by its importance and scope. He also started having friendly dinner parties every so often with a selected group of friends. His wife, Rosemary, was a happy and very joyful person and these dinner parties were always successes : everyone got out of them satisfied by the food as well as by the atmosphere and the great joy they had felt in it. The joy of homeliness.

The summer and the early fall went on and passed without any incident or accident. Everything was just marvellous and inspiring for the witnesses of this great achievement from a man who had always been admired for his success and righteous convictions.

But it was all going to change after the dinner party of the third of november. There were eight people, four couples, at this dinner party. Paul and Rosemary, who were of course hosting. Peter and his wife Jane. Michael and his friend Lizbeth. And finally Robert and very-soon-his wife-to-be Rochelle. Peter and Jane had brought a bottle of chablis. Michael and Lizbeth had brought a bottle of chardonay. And Robert and Rochelle had brought a bottle of champagne. That was a custom on these dinner parties : guests brought some wine. The custom had not been broken and everything was going smoothly. At least up to the dessert. When Rosemary brought the cake she had baked in the afternoon, everyone was flabbergasted by the beauty of its decoration. It looked like a bunch of flowers entirely made with sugar, chocolate and caramel. Everyone admired the tasty-looking work of baking-art and the champagne brought by Robert and Rochelle was the best accompaniment that could have been found. After this delightful dessert, everyone retired in the music room to listen to a new CD Paul had just found in some store, some rare church opera from the Middle Ages, the music of course, not the CD, deliciously light and charming with a tinge of cultural background that made it a perfect subject for a discussion afterwards, a discussion that was nicely washed down with some brandy, coffee and Belgian chocolates. The discussion was raging about the origin of the opera, Robert pretending it started in the fifteenth century in Italy, and Paul explaining that what they had listened to was a church opera and it was French and it was first performed in Beauvais cathedral in the thirteenth century. A perfect evening and they all agreed that this piece of rare music was the crowning element.

It is at this very moment that Robert said he suddenly felt cool if not cold and that, time being what it was, it was probably right to move on and call it a successful evening. So Robert and Rochelle were the first to leave. They were soon followed by the other guests and around eleven Paul and Rosemary found themselves alone in their comfortable and cosy house.

They went to bed and they plainly crossed the limit between reality and some other world. They had dreams that night like no other night before.

Paul dreamed he was in the twenties and he was having a discussion with an artist of the time. Eric McArdle was the name. He mainly painted countryside scenes with easygoing characters. Nothing avantgarde here, just beautiful paintings to put up in middle-class living-rooms or doctor's offices. But Eric McArdle was up in arms about Paul. He reproached him with having invaded his living space, having conquered and completely spoiled his living quarters, in a word having occupied his own personal and private house and home. For the first time in his life, but do dreams count as part of one's life, Paul was unable to answer, to defend himself, to advocate his righteousness, to be himself in a word, a man of certainty and conviction. He could not find the words that could justify his buying, redecorating, refurnishing and redesigning the house he was living in at the present moment. He felt guilty of having pushed someone outside in the cold and the rain of a bad winter storm. He did not even ask about when this Eric had lived in the house not any of the circumstances of this life and of the subsequent death, because it was obvious to Paul that this life in this house had been followed by a death in the same house.

So, in the morning, he woke up with the surviving vision of and accusation from that Eric McArdle, in other words with a bad conscience that he could not at all explain. He told Rosemary about the dream and she revealed that she had had exactly the same dream though she had asked Eric McArdle who he was and he had laughed at her and answered in a plain sarcastic tone : " What kind of a person are you who don't even know who I am?"

Paul looked for the salesdeed and verified at once that the house had been inhabited, in fact owned by a certain Eric McArdle from 1912 to 1932. But that's all he found. So, on the following day, as soon as he had some time to spare, he went to the library to look for old papers, to the realtor who sold him the house to prompt some research about this Eric McArdle. He did not find much. Eric McArdle was the painter he knew from his dream. He was rather successful in his life and in his profession. He had parties regularly in his home. His wife was rather weak and she died of consumption in may 1932. Finally Eric McArdle was known to have taken his life on the third of november 1932, in the deepest grief imaginable. Nothing particularly exciting. What bothered Eric was his dream and Rosemary's dream. He did not believe in the least in the supernatural, and yet he had to admit that those two dreams were absolutely amazing. He also had to admit that he moved into the house in may and that the dream occurred on the third of november. It is then that he remembered the sensation of cold that Robert had felt at the end of the evening. All that definitely contradicted his logical mind and his deepest convictions. And he could not overlook the sensation of unease he felt in this situation. He could not plainly reject the event. He could not clear his mind of the dream. He could not be himself, a man of conviction and logic. He had in a way been transformed, and he did not like it.

In the evening he had a long discussion with Rosemary and for the first time in his life he was confronted to a clear-cut disagreement, to a person who sharply disagreed with him. What's more his wife and lifelong lady-friend. But it is necessary to enter more details about this disagreement.

"I don't believe in the supernatural ! It is all a pure coincidence, some unconscious knowledge registered by us without knowing it ! " argued quite vehemently Paul, and this vehemence was something new for him. He had not realized he could be that vehement.

"Paul, that is not like you to refuse some obvious reality. We had the same dream at the same time and the content of that dream was confirmed by your research. So we have to accept the idea that it is more than a plain coincidence. There must be something real about this event."

"Rosemary, you surprise me. You have always been on the same rational line as I and never have I heard you advocating in the slightest possible way supernatural events and explanations. If we follow you we have to accept the idea that the house is haunted. How can you come to such a conclusion without negating a whole life of convictions?"

"Not exactly you know. I have always been rational or tried to be rational in my life, but I have never forgotten that some events are beyond our immediate logic and that our rational mind is limited in its scope."

"But we can only understand new events by using our rational mind."

"Maybe, maybe not. There is not rational explanation about our dream. And to say it is a pure coincidence is not very rational. There is no rational cause and no rational effect in this explanation. A coincidence is an accident and an accident is the negation of a rational line. So if we are confronted to an irrational event why not accept the idea that the house is haunted. It is in no way more irrational."

"That bothers me. I have never believed in ghosts and I am not going to start today."

"Well, let's disagree on the point, and let's see what's happening next. Wait and see and the future might bring us some light."

So they agreed to disagree and they waited for the next move of the ghost, if ghost there was.

And ghost there was.

Eric McArdle waited for the second dinner party after his first appearance, two weeks later, on the seventeenth of november. The guests were the same as two weeks before. It seemed that the ghost was choosing his audience. The first problem appeared when the table was set. Rosemary put eight plates, forks, spoons, glasses, and she went to the kitchen to get the petit-fours out of the oven. When she came back nine plates, glasses, forks, spoons, and chairs were set on and around the table. She took away the ninth set and chair and reset the table properly. Then she answered the bell for the first guests, Robert and Rochelle, and she came back and once again the table had been set for nine people.

"God damn it!" she exclaimed.

"What's wrong?" asked Robert.

"It is this silly table that sets itself for nine people instead of eight. I have already set it twice properly and it goes on with adding one set and one chair. I just cant figure it out ", she answered.

"You want me to believe there is a ghost in your dining-room ? " wondered Robert.

"I don't want you to believe anything but something strange is happening, and that has been going on since our last dinner party on the third of november."

"What has been going on ? " asked Rochelle with some sudden interest.

Rosemary told them about the dream and what Paul had found out about Eric McArdle. Robert at once thought of the cold he felt at the end of the previous evening and Rochelle was just delighted by the idea of dining with a ghost. So she insisted for the ninth set to be left alone on the table and see what would happen. At this moment Paul arrived and he was not that thrilled by the idea of dining with a ghost.

"It sounds like Don Giovanni. The Commander is going to be our extra-guest tonight. Why not prepare a big fire in the fireplace so that we can jump into the flames of hell handily?"

"That's a good idea. I knew we could count on your sense of humor to find some easy way out," retorted Robert.

The other guests arrived at that moment and everyone found the situation quite funny and interesting. Paul, obviously slightly disturbed by this piece of humor, just went to the music room and brought Don Giovanni to entertain the guests before they sat at the table. So, they had their light apéritif and petits fours to the sound of Mozart haunted music. And then finally they sat and started their dinner, with a ninth set and chair for an uninvited guest who was also invisible and unfathomable, at least till Rosemary brought the first dish. Everyone served themselves and when they were all done, the ninth glass was sonorously clinked with the ninth fork that was moving in suspension in the air. Everyone stopped speaking, moving, eating, or even thinking, and they just looked, watched and stared. No one though got up and took to their heels. They were all fascinated even if Paul was more annoyed than interested. At least he cut a pose as if he were annoyed. Deep inside his righteous psyche he was thrilled by something new and unexpected, by something that even could be dangerous. After all no one knew what this ghost was up to.

"Paul, said Jane, that is the most fascinating entertainment you have ever provided us with. Where did you get it?"

Paul was not thrilled at all by the suggestion that he had arranged the whole thing.

"My dear Paul, went on Rochelle, you have been hiding something from us all the time. You have connections in the other world, and you should be ashamed of your secrecy."

"Ashamed ? That's an understatement, butted in Michael. You should feel guilty about all your years of rational explanation for everything while you were entertaining a ghost in your home behind our backs, and maybe not only in your home, maybe in your mind. You have to introduce us to this poor chap and find out what he wants. Your dinner parties are going to become particularly fashionable. Wait and see till I tell everyone at the office."

"Michael dear, answered Paul, if I were you I would keep that event for myself and I would not spread the good news of the birth or rebirth of a ghost around our table. What for anyway ? But since now it is no longer a secret for us all, maybe we can follow your suggestion and find out what he wants, since I think I know who he is, a certain Eric McArdle, an artist who lived and died in this house a few decades ago. But I have never dealt with a ghost, so I do not know in the least how to start, continue and end such an entertaining intercourse."

Everyone's attention was suspended in midair and they all waited for some initiative. Rosemary took the lead. She got up and served some meat, vegetables and wine to the ghost and told him : " Welcome home, Mr Eric ! " before going back to her seat. Then they all started eating, though the food or wine served to the ghost went untouched.

"Who knows how we can speak to a ghost?" asked Peter.

"Well, there are many ways with ouija boards or some other more sophisticated knocking on tables or walls. But why don't we just ask him questions ? " suggested Robert. And he went on : " Mr Eric McArdle, do I have your name right?"

No one expected an answer, and yet everyone was waiting for one. And an answer came. First the light dimmed slightly and a voice came from afar, kind of resonant and hollow. Nothing surprising since they were dealing with a ghost who lived in some kind of empty limbos.

"You have it right and I have to welcome you to my home."

"Your home ? " exclaimed everyone at the same time.

"Yes, my home. You are just temporary occupants or visitors, whereas I am the permament owner of the place."

"Isn't owner a big word ? After all the house has been sold several times since your death, interjected Lizbeth. You are in no way the owner of this house, are you?"

"Maybe not the owner but for sure the proprietor. I am the only one that can give it some kind of life, a life that no one can ever expect to find in it or give to it without my help."

"Yeah, said Robert, but let's come to the point. What do you want, what do you expect?"

The ghost remained silent for a time and then he started speaking again.

"You don't understand. When my wife, my dear Deirdre, died I was literally shaken to death. She had always been a rather weak person, though with a strong personality. She was my inspirator and when she finally got sick, she was gone in less time than needed to call the doctor. In a few months she was lying dead on her bed. I could not survive this event. I could not adapt to my solitude and I decided to end my life. But I was so naive in those days that I did not know there were different ways to do it and that the outcome depended on the methods used by the candidate suicidee. I just took pills and put myself to sleep like a dog. That was no good. That way to get off condemned me to roam this house in which I am completely imprisoned. I did not find my wife on the other side. Deirdre was and is in a completely different space and world. So I am condemned to miss her forever and my only wish is to find her. So far, with all the temporary inhabitants of this house I have just accepted them for a while and then frightened them out. But with you there is something different. Your music is different. None of this booming noise that some listen to…"

"You mean rock and roll?" asked Paul.

"Is it rock and roll they call it ? Rock and roll then. Too loud and too disturbing for me. But you listen to pieces I know from old days and old ages. That is good. You have no children either and that is good too because I hate children, their insolence, their incredibility, their unrespectful attitudes, their lack of faith and beliefs. He're we have civilized conversations on civilized subjects, even if I do not understand everything, because the world outside is not what it used to be, I guess. So, what do I want ? I would like you to bring Deirdre back to the house. I painted many likeness of her and I am going to help you find them and bring them back into the house. I would like to be considered in this house and have my own place and position. To have my own plate on the table, my own glass. To be served normally, though of course I will not touch any food or drink, but served out of respect and consideration. I would like to become some kind of invisible resident in the house to whom all respect is given without any discussion or bickering. Is that asking for too much?"

Everyone remained both confused by such demands and awed by the moral content of them for quite some time, not able to say a word, not able to respond. Paul finally said :

"If we accept those demands, that will mean we believe in ghosts and I have a fair share of disbelief."

But Rosemary took over and brought up a compromise :

"Don't listen too much to Paul. He is a disbeliever in anything that does not enter the field of his rationality. I think it is perfectly understandable that you want to be considered and welcomed in your own home. I think it is perfectly acceptable that you want to bring your Deirdre back to you, if not back to life. I think it is perfectly manageable to have you as a free-going and unobtrusive guest in the house. That will bother no one. This will become some rite. We will try to find the portraits of your wife and we will put them up in the house. We will try to have a discussion with you any time it is required, necessary and advisable. We will be your friends if you want, if you wish. We can very easily consider this house as your home and we will make you feel at home. First of all one of the rooms will become yours. Secondly we will get the paintings. Thirdly you will always be our guest at our table. Fourthly we will accomodate you and introduce you to our friends when they visit."

"But what will you give the people in the house in return for such favors ? " asked Michael.

"Civility. No tricks, no traps, no frights, no hatred. And there will be no hatred if I do not have to be jealous of you for possessing and invading my home, and if you do not push me away evoking some fear in me, the fear to be side-tracked."

"But what about the privacy of the people in the house, since you are invisible and can be anywhere at any time ? " asked Jane.

"That is to be dealt with in trust. If I can trust you as for respect and friendliness, I will respect your privacy and I will stay where I have to stay to be out of the way, except when I am wanted."

"That sounds a little bit short as for retribution to our adapting our lives to your presence ", said Paul.

"I am pretty sure we can find some common grounds where I will be able to bring you some vista in life. After all I have a good education and a wide practice in arts. That should interest you a lot. To have direct intimations about the past or human nature."

When the conversation reached that point there seemed to be nothing to be added to such an agreement. Everyone sounded satisfied. But how can such an agreement be implemented ? That was Paul's question in his mind. But he decided, a first in his life of reason and balanced rational behavior, to go along with what he considered as harmless whims from a sorrowful poor soul of a ghost roaming in the limbos of life, if such limbos did exist.

So the dinner party went on to its end, and on the following day, in the following week, Paul and Rosemary, with a lot of encouragement from their friends who asked for news and information about the developing situation, managed to trace three paintings that were available for sale, managed to buy them and managed to hang them, this part being the easiest, in the spare room that had become Eric McArdle's room. They provided this room with fresh water and flowers just as if it were lived in by some young woman. The ghost seemed very satisfied with that care. The most bizarre situation was of course sharing meals with him. But, after a while, Paul and Rosemary got used to it and did it out of custom and consideration. Rosemary even brought back to life an old saying of her mother that a table should always have a plate and glass set and served for the unknown mendicant that can knock at the door at any time.

And life went on with some kind of peace and quiet.

But Paul, and he was encouraged by Peter and Robert, thought a lot about how they could manage to send Eric on his way to further worlds where he could find his Deirdre and some peace in some kind of eternal life. Paul doubted, in spite of all, the existence of this eternal life, and he made do with a conservatory conception and acceptance. If this irrational belief was the condition to some order in his household, he was ready to accept it and abide by it. But he would prefer that eternal life to be outside his home, so he would prefer to send Eric back on the road to the world he had missed by his unwise suicide. This became the main objective of Paul who spent a lot of time and thought to find a way.

One night he asked the ghost what could be done to rejoin him with his wife. The ghost's answer was slightly mysterious and surprising.

"They say, where I am, that there is a way. The ghost has to recapture some density and then has to depart in due form from the world again."

"But how can we give you some density?"

"You can't tough you can help. It is my task. It is also my desire to rejoin Deirdre. But It is both a difficult process and a dangerous one, both for me and for you. If you are ready to try it, we could do that next time your friends are around."

And that became Paul's and Rosemary's, along different lines for sure, project and ambition. To help poor Eric McArdle to get on his way to a further world.

At the next dinner party when all the accomplices were assembled, Paul announced that there was a way to set Eric moving again on a road to his future. But he did not know what it was. So he asked, at the dinner table, Eric to explain the procedure.

"I have to rematerialize and there is only one way : someone must lend me his body. When this is done, when I have repossessed a body, we can try the procedure to get me moving on my road. There is a danger for me, that is to say my being blocked in that body forever, and there is a danger for the lender because either I get blocked in his body forever or his body may suffer when I get out of it again. The procedure has to be voluntary."

That's all Eric said. But everyone was suddenly feeling some cold in their backs, because everyone was measuring the danger of the attempt. But the situation was saved by Paul who volunteered without too much of a resistance with himself. That was irrational, but that was adventure and Paul suddenly felt some inkling at accepting to get into such an adventure, and into it he got. Paul became the host of Eric and he suddenly felt thrilled by this new situation. He was sharing his body with someone else. He tried not to feel invaded but only helpful and curious. He felt Eric getting used to his body and taking it over. He could even discuss with him directly in his mind and he did.

"Eric, what's the next step?"

"It's an incredibly difficult step. You will have to follow my instructions very carefully and I hope my information is correct. You never know on this side of life because everyone is always lying and I have been pretty isolated in this house."

"So, let's start."

And they started.

They all joined hands around the table and they all felt a cold stream going up and down their hands, arms and shoulders. Eric was taking over the whole circle. Then they invoked Eric in their minds and they evoked his fate. They tried to build a strong common feeling of pity and support. Then Eric spoke, through Paul's mouth.

"You have to project in your mind's eye the picture of Deirdre and my own picture. You have to project in your minds the end of Deirdre, her death, and then the subsequent events : my depression, my solitude and my final decision to get rid of my life. I am going to help you and make the film of that period run in your minds."

And everyone started seeing Deirdre on her death bed. She was sick, very sick and close to death. Eric was next to her, kneeling on the floor and holding her hand. She was speaking in a very weak voice.

"Eric, it will all be finished in a few moments. I want you to survive and go on with your life till I call you and I will not do that easily because we have little power on the other side."

And she died and they all saw Eric becoming some kind of solitary recluse, only thinking of Deirdre and of rejoining her. They saw him finally mixing the pills and taking them and they saw him dying on his bed. But they realized his mistake. Deirdre had not called for him. He was not following the instructions she had given him before dying. It is at this moment that they heard someone knocking on the door of the dining-room. And Deirdre entered. Since she had died in a normal way, she had some materiality and she walked in slowly, seen by everyone. She came to the circle and she joined it and she spoke in her turn.

"Eric, I know you are here in this circle. I know someone has lent you his body, and I want you to leave that body and come along with me when I am going to step out of the circle."

Everyone cast glances to the others and particularly to Paul who asked Eric, in his mind :

"How are you going to do that ?"

"I hope, God bless me because it is only a hope, I know how to do it."

Eric moved his hands along both sides of the circle till he was holding Deirdre's hands. Then she said :

"I think we can try."

And she let go of the mortal hands she was holding but not of Eric's hands and she got out of the circle. Everyone saw Eric's hands materialize as she was moving away and little by little they saw Eric's body materialize too. He was coming out of the circle and the process went on till Deirdre and Eric were completely out of it, holding hands, everyone beholding the transformation. Then Deirdre spoke again.

"Eric, I want you to come along with me and go to my world."

"Yes, Deirdre, anything you say."

And slowly the two ghosts lost their evanescent materiality and moved away into thin air till there was nothing left of either one. Eric seemed to have been liberated of his curse and to have left the house. It is at this very moment that the diners decided to break the circle. That was not too difficult except for Paul who suddenly felt very faint, very weak. He did not know what was happening and he tried to react and to recapture his body. After five minutes of anguish and fear, he found his footing again and he took a glass of wine and drained it in one gulp. He was back in the world of the living, though he did not think he had ever left it, even if he had been temporarily estranged from his body. The subsequent discussion was interesting because everyone admired the courage Paul had shown, though everyone knew it went against the grain of his personality. They went on with their dinner and left rather late that night.

After their departure Rosemary asked:

"How did it feel ?"

"As if I had no body any more, as if my spirit was floating in midair without any material string to the world. I was kind of floating over the table and I was seeing my body going limp. It's when I summoned all my energy and I was able to go back down into my body. The strange thing is that I had to think of Eric and Deirdre being finally reunited to be able to do the move. When I felt some deep pleasure for their reunion, when I felt some deep admiration for their love, then some kind of a door opened and I was able to slink through it and I refound myself in my body. I think the danger was to remain estranged from my body and become a ghost in my turn. But all is well that finishes well. Yet I think Eric must have left something behind as a sign of his gratitude. I don't know what. It is just a feeling. "

They both went to the spareroom that had become Eric's room and they discovered two changes. The paintings they had been collecting were still there, but they had a new light, as if they were living, alive. They had a radiance that was not there before. At the same time Eric had left something new on the table. It was a letter. They took it and read it.

"Dear Paul, Dear Rosemary,

"Thank you for your courage and confidence. I am reunited with Deirdre. As a token of my gratitude, I entrust you with double vision. Every time you will be confronted to a situation in which you have to evaluate the motivations of your antagons, you will be able to lift your spirit over your body and look at, cast a glimpse into your antagons' minds. You will then be able to foresee their objections and their own motivations. I hope this will be of some help in your life.

"Eric with love and Deirdre with thankfulness."

And that was of some use to Paul in his selling profession. He could always find the right argument and adapt his commercial propositions to the expectations and fears of his clients. Apart from that Eric never manifested himself any more and yet Rosemary and Paul decided to keep the spare room in its state with the paintings and with the recollection of a presence that could have been particularly disturbing but was not.

Paul underwent a change in his personality and he became aware that his rational attitude had to open up some space for doubt and what he began to call his fuzzy alter ego. He had the strong feeling that he had become a double though not split personality and that those two persons in him were always undergoing strong and long conversations. He never again felt so sure about anything and became, to the satisfaction of everyone else, a man always open to doubt and alternative thinking. Truth became for him double with a rational side and a not so rational side, and it is the second that became his special inspiration. The happiest benefactor of this situation was Rosemary who could introduce in their life some new forms of culture that Paul had neglected so far, such as poetry and the cinema.







ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jacques Coulardeau is dedicating a lot of his research to multimedia literature, particularly horror and fantastique (Stephen King, Anne Rice, Clive Barker,...). But his scope is a lot wider, from the Middle Ages to modern times in the field of English, European and American literatures and arts. He is particularly working today on the relation between language and music, bringing together, for example, Shakespeare and his multivaried linguistic music and Purcell, a musician that brings the language into the music. On another level he also works in theoretical linguistics, which enables him to look for the intricate and deep levels of the language that build its music, its power. He has extensively travelled in Africa, the USA and Europe, and has taught in many universities (University of California at Davis, Université Lille III, Université Paris IX Dauphine, Université de Paris II Panthéon Assas, Université de Perpignan) as well as in many secondary schools in "Zaire", the USA, France. He has also been involved in many cultural movements and actions as an author for the radio, the theatre, the press; for kids as well as adults. He also works with other artists and musicians in order to create, in various places, cultural events that bring together various artistic forms.




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