On verra (Douglas Kennedy)
This is a phrase I use constantly - in fact, so constantly that I now employ it regularly in my conversations with my anglophone friends as well. From the moment I first encountered the expression ‘on verra’ it became something of a talisman for me... and a way of defining my world view. If you think about it ‘on verra’ is an expression of possibility, of hope, of prudence, of caution. But, for me, it also underscores a central theme that runs throughout my novels: the idea that life is so bound up in ‘la musique du hasard’. As such ‘on verra’ highlights the idea that, as much as we would like to predict how things will turn out, we are always subject to the happenstantial nature of temporal existence. For example, whenever a new novel of mine is about to be published - and for all writers the eve of publication is always an unsettling period (I often think about joining La Legion Etrangere around forty-eight hours before the novel hits the street) - I am frequently asked if this new novel will achieve the success of the previous one. To which I can only reply: on verra... because after publishing thirteen books over the past twenty-four years, I am very cognizant of the fact that success is a fragile veneer, and every novel is a new adventure. As such, it’s always: on verra. Most tellingly, on verra defines a way of looking at life as an ongoing mystery. In the United States we so love the idea of certainty - of definitive answers and solutions to existence’s manifold complexities. But as you can never really know in advance the trajectory that your life will follow - even if you have narrowed your possibilities down to the most quotidian nine-to-five existence - the only way to approach the frequently exuberant, frequently appalling mess that is life is to think: as if I have no idea of what might be thrown across my path next year, next month, the day after tomorrow, or even an hour from now, what else can one say about ‘la musique du hasard’ that shadows our temporal time on earth except on verra.
Pour citer cette ressource :
Douglas Kennedy, "On verra (Douglas Kennedy)", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), mars 2014. Consulté le 29/02/2024. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/litterature/entretiens-et-textes-inedits/on-verra-douglas-kennedy-