[Entrevue] “False apostates”: sports and men

Whether we are athletes or not, sports occupy an important place in our lives. Recently, the death of the Blond Devil brought to the surface a thousand memories from the beautiful era of the Glorious Era. Sports journalists, hockey fans, and spectators all had their own short story to tell.

“Sports plays a big role,” adds James Hyndman, whom he met between the two days of shooting crumbs, a new series from Serge Boucher. Truly, we talk a lot about culture; The melody that runs through our mind brings back memories instantly, but it’s true that sport also has this ability, and it has something very unifying. I played sports all my life, I was on the Quebec volleyball team when I was young; So I have memories directly related to the competitions. Even for people who don’t exercise, there are moments that are part of the collective culture, of the collective unconscious, like the Maurice Richard riot or Noah’s victory in 1983 among the French.

There is also this consistency in tennis, both amateur and professional, to counter all your fiends. We confront ourselves, with what we wear best and worst in ourselves. Players spend their lives managing and silencing the demons that always want to get out and are more than anything else. We see it when we’re in the stands.

Long before writing False recoil, his third book, in which we relive, through his memories of clay courts, family tales and reflections on the male condition, some parts of tennis history, from Drobney to Djoko, passing through Billy Jean King, Bourg, Mack, Graf. , Seles, and our closest, Shapovalov and Auger Eliasim, James Hyndman realized that sport and culture could not be reconciled. Passionate about literature after devoting 12 years to public readings, a “form of the priesthood that fed me from every point of view,” the actor once wanted to think outside the box and deliver scripts on the bike, which for a long time had been one of his passions.

In 2008, at the Cinquième Salle on the Place des Arts, I read a collection of texts by Paul Fournel and Pierre Foglia, two writers with a truly literary way of telling stories. The room shook. Foglia didn’t want to know anything about the word ‘writer’, But when we read Voglia Tour, a set of records that he paraphrased, we understand to be a brilliant sports writer. There was something so familiar in the tone at times, biting, epic, lyrical, earthy. Everyone tried to copy it, but no one succeeded. »

Grab the ball to jump

Thanks for the invitation from the magazine Tennis Magazine In 2015, the fiery tennis player, who has played for a long time in competitive leagues, managed to polish his pen. For five years, who played sports journalist Benoit Dumais, an emulator of Foglia, in Rumorsa series by Isabel Langlois, wrote about tennis in her own way without receiving any comments.

“It was better this way because I carried on doing my little work without caring what anyone might think. Since I didn’t get paid, from the first column, speaking of my uncle who refereed at Wimbledon in 1946, I told myself I had all the rights, and that I I will have fun and take advantage of that to throw a rules of what can be a book where I can explore all kinds of forms, fantasy, realism, soliloquy, dialogue, and acclaim I remember, a great book by Perec, etc., and that I will try to astound the reader by moving from one form to another, and from one story to the next. »

Prior to achieving this, the aspiring writer was publishing two books with XYZ, oceans (2018) and adult life (2020): “ adult life She was the first to really start writing incompletely. I said it was from my diary, but three-quarters of the book had nothing to do with my diary. I’m left wondering how I can indulge in an exercise in self-literature without indulging in complacency, without talking too much about myself. Suddenly I wrote a soliloquyoceans For summer I don’t know if he has something there or not, I made Tristan read it [Malavoy], who told me he liked it and was ready to post it. »

Somehow, False recoilHalf of the 20 or so short texts are revamped tennis records, seeming to mark the end of a cycle of writing.

“The vein will run out and I’ll die as an author, he jokes. It’s true that there’s a chapter about to finish. I usually write a chapter out of a draft and then spend a lot of time refining it. I still feel like I’m not a writer, even though I’ve been writing for years. I’ve always been aware with my limits and said to myself with what I have, I have to work hard.”

finds his breath

If the next cycle will be different, it won’t adopt the fragmented format that suits it yet, warns James Hyndman, who is a TV series with a screenwriter and a feature film script with a director, that he’s still short of breath. But we feel in this third book that he gained confidence, and that he wrote more freely than the previous writings.

soliloquyoceans She stayed very close to me, even if I gave that voice to all kinds of characters; certainly, adult life, it is a mandatory paragraph to talk about oneself while maintaining ambiguity because I have an intimate life that interests me and results from writing and public readings. at False recoilThere’s more imagination, and more humor. »

Plus the bittersweet and the sad run through it all. “This is the word that sums up my life!” He let out a huge explosion of laughter. I didn’t want it to be too much, but we find it in the first chapter [«Le mur »], in sections about my father. I also mock all this rage and violence with speculation, which is also a kind of acknowledgment of helplessness, frustration, and disappointed expectations. »

And of course we find in the writing this elegance that we immediately associate with the actor and with this descended sport of tennis.

“There is also this consistency in tennis, both amateur and professional, in the face of all your demons. We confront ourselves, with what we wear best and worst in ourselves. Players spend their lives managing and silencing the demons that always want to go out and are more than anything else. We witness that. When we are in the stands.”

Was it the fear of facing his own demons that kept the actor from embracing his literary mission for so long?

“Years ago, writers were my brothers; they bore me. I honestly believe that the desire to write has been there since I was 11 or 12, but I had absolutely no confidence in doing so, and that I suffer so many narcissistic wounds from all Genres, and that it took me to match. To be seen, to be on stage, to be recognized that way to please things before you were, perhaps, able to write. When I started writing, I wasn’t sure if it would be published. I think I realize today that the relationship with books and authors was very deep.”

False recoil

James Hyndman, Introduction by Jean-Paul Dubois, XYZ, “Quai noh 5”, Montreal, 2022, 144 pages. Available 11 May.

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