[Entrevue] Catherine Lepage: having a hard head

She told us, with frankness and sensitivity, of her depression in the album 12 months without interest. Diary of a depressionpublished in 2007. In Buoys, released 13 years later, was about his many quests to find love (and the haircut that goes with it) as a teenager. With Fly over the holes, author Catherine Lepage focuses, this time, on the obsessive desire to get everything she wants and on the consequences of having a hard head. Very hard.

So, after giving herself so much with her first two albums, did Catherine Lepage still have something to tell? What did she want to tell us? “I question the ambition and then the quest to achieve our objectives at all costs. Yes, OK, that’s thefun, it motivates to have goals, but there is a thin line, at some point, between determination and exhaustion, you know. We are still, I think, in a performance society. Then I want a little bit, in my own way, to testify, to say to be careful, that it’s a double-edged sword. We must remain attentive to the signs. I raise kids, too, and I’m very anti-achieving, but at the same time, you can’t dumb down and then tell them it’s easy. You have to make efforts, you have to have goals. So, in the end, it’s a question of dosage. »

I question ambition and then the quest to achieve our goals at all costs. Yes, OK, it’s fun, it motivates to have goals, but there is a thin line, at some point, between determination and exhaustion, you know.

And this is what the author says, precisely, in this album where she stages herself, during this pivotal moment between the end of adolescence and the beginning of adulthood, where she to prove. To his teachers, to his colleagues, to his friends, to his father. Especially to his father, because we know that the apple never falls very far from the tree. “My big anxiety was to have my parents read it,” explains the author. I was afraid they would take it badly. I made my sisters read it first, then my big sister asked me if I didn’t prefer to wait before putting it out. Wait for what ? But I was really worried about their reaction. »

A well-founded concern, in the circumstances, but which did not prove, in the end. “After reading it, my father’s reaction was to ask me who might be interested in it. He found it thefun to read, but that’s because he was concerned. He didn’t understand how anyone else could find any interest in it. I replied that there are plenty of people who know Ronalds, like you, and there are others who will even recognize themselves. He started laughing and it did him good to understand that he wasn’t alone. »

The quest for performance leads to the question of gender: do girls, and women, have a heavier weight to bear in this respect? Is this part of the famous mental load, which we have been talking about for a few years now? “It’s an observation that I made not long ago. All my life, I haven’t felt that weight. For me, it was a matter of attitude rather than gender. However, the world of advertising, from which I come, is not only a male-dominated sphere, it is an environment in which the prejudice persists that men are more creative than women. But at home, as we were three sisters, I didn’t feel the comparison with the guys. I didn’t have a brother who had privileges to which I was not entitled. I realized this later, when I remembered that when I was working in a pub and meeting clients, they weren’t looking at me, they were focusing on my male colleagues. »

A bit like the character of Peggy, in the TV series madmen, who has to work harder than all her male colleagues just to get the right to do her job as an advertising designer, to be something other than a secretary, the role in which society in the 1960s confined her. ” Exactly. And I didn’t realize it. For me, it was normal, it didn’t make me angry, I was just trying harder. It’s the same in comics. It’s not been that long since girls have been doing it, and it took a while before it was accepted. However, it is not because we are less good. But I think that maybe we do things differently because, for a long time, we had to prove that we were capable. »

In the end, the fact remains that the line is thin between the desire for success and an obsession that borders on relentlessness, a line that Catherine Lepage has crossed to the point of making herself sick. And that is what is so accurately told here, with sensitivity and intelligence, with a personal and funny drawing, which serves the story so well by allowing us to receive it, with a smirk for some, with a yellow laugh for others. ‘others…

Fly over the holes

Catherine Lepage, La Watermelon, Montreal, 2022, 136 pages

To see in video

source site-42