A taste for words is how I would describe Ms Touitou’s fetish, or something like that. Effectively in the age of social media, everyone is a digital writer, photographer etc, but Ms Touitou knows how to apply her passion for words to the thoughts that run across everyone’s minds. Frankly, we wanted to get an opinion from a writer who writes for magazines, to put in our magazine. What a convoluted idea. Ms Touitou….
So you have a short story piece in the new Revue Magazine… How would you describe your own writing style?
I’m very interested in non-fiction. Writing about reality with a strong narrative sense. I believe it’s a way of addressing current issues in a non-heavy way. It’s also a good medium to express more intimate stories, personal essays for instance. In the case of the short story I wrote for Revue Magazine, it was more about taking liberties with something that actually happened, playing with reality in a way.
If you were to review yourself, your current piece, what would you say?
Well, it was the first real piece I had ever written in French, which is weird since it’s my mother tongue but English always felt more natural for writing. Anyway, I was very self-conscious when I was working on it. I would say it’s a piece about having fun with an unknown fact about a known film maker: this time Gus Van Sant decided to make a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.
And what was the unknown fact that you happened to discover?
That he did a shot per shot remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, basically daring to touch one of cinema’s most important film. The focus of the story is to explain that in 1998, Gus Van Sant was not yet quite the acclaimed director he is today and he was really hated for this remake. The piece is entitled “We should probably explain to people why we did this film,” a sentence Gus Van Sant said in an interview, so I guess my idea was to explore what that movie had to give.
How long have you been working in this industry? What do you write about the most?
My first published piece was an interview with Wes Anderson in Apartamento magazine in 2014. So for the past two years I’ve been writing about cinema, but not only this. I guess that I’ve always been more interested in the act of writing itself rather than about one subject or the other. I’d say I mostly right about things I feel sensitive towards.
You live in Paris. Where do you hangout and meet other young inspirational writers such as yourself?
I’ve been living in Paris all my life (apart from four years spent in Bruxelles) but I still love to discover new places in the city so my friends and I tend to meet in various spots. However it is true that we love café Rouquet on boulevard Saint Germain because it has been the same for a long time. That’s our spot for early evenings. I’m going to stop there because I could go on forever as where to hang out in Paris!
What do you think about the current state of writing in magazines?
It is both a challenging and exciting time. Magazines tend to give a new importance to the written word but it is still not entirely considered as a real job like photography for instance.
I’d have to say this is a real bitch. Why do you think it’s like this? Do you think it will ever be taken seriously?
Oh I think it is already taken seriously but just because there is no apparent craft behind the act of writing maybe it’s harder to see the difference between someone who just writes like we all do on an everyday basis and someone who likes to think of himself as a writer who gives an importance to every word he chooses. But the craft of a writer is so intimate and almost invisible, I guess it’s harder to estimate the value of our work.
You are writing for Lurve, Kennedy, Apartemento. What is it like submitting pieces to these publications? Do you have the freedom to write as you desire?
It’s always a discussion and collaboration about the magazine’s thoughts and my desire for the piece to mature. But I have to say I’m very lucky to have all the freedom I could ask for.
How did you form relations with these magazines to submit writings?
It all began with Apartamento. I met Marco, the editor-in-chief and his girlfriend Helena on vacation in Puglia one summer. I had just finished my thesis and they encouraged me a lot to give writing a real shot. So at the beginning I was only writing for them and then I met Fabrice Paineau from Double Magazine where they were looking for new writers. And after that I started getting in touch with magazines I admire or I would get contacted by magazines.