August 25, 2012 § 2 Comments

I found myself thinking of the word tristesse several times yesterday, as I moved from the glorious outpouring from people celebrating Gene and his centenary all around the world to an absence that I felt inside. Gene frequently used the French noun to describe a particular way that he was feeling. More than just sadness, it revealed a deeper kind of sorrow; a melancholy, really. It reflected his precision and his determination to find just the right word or phrase to express himself as fluidly and artfully as possible. Gene had a tremendous facility with language. With great adeptness, he could swing from Latin to Yiddish to French, even to the street slang of his young. It was a colorful mix, but never gratuitous. It was simply the way he thought and spoke, the way he saw the world. I realized that with tristesse I had looped back to our beginnings, to our early shared love of words. Perhaps not so unconsciously I had found a way to connect with him after all.


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§ 2 Responses to Tristesse

  • Oh, Patricia. Reading your post was a full circle moment that we sent with you and with Gene from afar tonight. My husband and I just watched the last of your interviews with Robert Osborne after watching SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN and INHERIT THE WIND tonight, and this post reminds me of your finding Gene’s red diary while he was in Paris and Africa where you talked about him feeling lonely.

    I hope that as your tristesse passes you will return to the joy of Gene that obviously lives inside you even still.

    Blessings and joy to you, Patricia.

  • Patricia, im sorry for your feeling of Tristesse…seems almost unavoidable when you are in a stage of Gene Kelly heightened awareness during this occassion of his 100th Birthday. Sometimes it’s these foreign words that best describe how we feel and there’s no equal translation in English. After living in Italy for 6yrs, I find that often I use an Italian word and am at a complete loss as to it’s equvalent in English. As you know the Italian word for sad is ‘triste’….i hope this word doesn’t linger too long for you. Thanks for sharing your emotions in this public forum….all my best, Karen

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