2013 South Side Writing Contest: The Winners



The Salon Vivre Côté Sud has launched a news contest on the theme "The South on the terrace", in resonance with the spirit of the event. Discover the winning texts ...

The contest Vivre Côté Sud 2013 "Les Suds en terrasse" was open to all, experienced writers or amateurs. To participate, it was necessary to send a news, a memory, a poem, an evocation, a reverie having for subject a terrace of the South according to his imagination!

The jury of the contest "Tell me your terrace" brought together publishers, writers and journalists.

Visible on the website, the new winners will also be published in the August-September issue of Côté Sud magazine.

The 3 best news were rewarded during the show's launch party, Friday, June 7, 2013, with a reading of the texts that guests and visitors could also discover on the steps of the Jourdan Park waterfall.

Who are the winners?

1st prize - Corineve Ungar-Lifart
2nd prize - Bénédicte Darnet-Lallemand
3rd prize - Elisabeth Voguet-Sirhugues
4th prize - Joel meynadier
5th prize - Stephan Mary
6th prize - Wen
7th prize - Carine Salgas
8th prize - Antoinette de Jorna
9th prize - Marie Agnès Rosse
10th prize - Christophe Roque

Congratulations to all participants of this beautiful news contest "Tell me your terrace"!
And discover now the three winning texts below.

1st prize

My terrace on the other side of the Mediterranean ...

Memories of childhood, I'm five years old no doubt, no more, some time later we left this land for France. Every Thursday, it was laundry day and my mother was going up on the terrace with a woman who came to help her on this occasion ... For my sister and me it was festive day: carry the bales of linen and all that was going with: white iron basin and crenellated wooden board on which was rubbed the laundry to wash with a piece of Marseille soap ... But even before reaching it, there was the stairway and the white terrace high perched of which the light was jumping in our faces when the door opened: it seemed like the blue square of the sky was touching our hair and immediately that feeling of intense heat as soon as we passed the door ... A whole day to beat us , screaming, running, hiding on the terrace, beautiful playground between heaven and earth ... I think we were aware of being at the height of the birds. They flew over us, tearing the sky with their strident cries ... When we stood on tiptoe, leaning against the white wall, we could see in the distance, the other blue that of the sea, a water line for horizon.

When they had finished boiling the sheets, they each placed at one end and twisted it by pressing it to extract all the water it contained, then they came to spread it on the white wire not without the to have cleaned beforehand by sliding the hand from one end to the other of the drying, it is there that the pleasure was at the paroxysm ... Maman launched with a lively gesture the sheet on the rope before extending it and immobilize it with wooden pliers ... Immediately, the sheets began to snap in an aerial dance, square of white veil standing out against the mighty blue sky of Algeria ... It was breathtakingly beautiful and the The smell of the washing that was evaporating filled us with joy. It was the signal: the game of hide and seek could begin! We slipped inside the crease of the wet sheets that immediately gave us a feeling of freshness and we ran so as not to be caught by each other. Sometimes we play ghosts, screaming to scare us.

My mother was lecturing us not to dirty with our hands what they had had so much trouble making clean, it did not matter to us ... What a sensation of pleasure took hold of us! We exulted in this ghostly dance we, the queens of the cloth huts. When the sheets had finished drying, we could wrap in the scented smell of the laundry and invent more disguises of Oriental princesses to the despair of my mother ... When the day ended, there was the instruction not to to leave the laundry on the rope all night, it was said that the clothes picked up in the dampness of the evening gave the babies a stomach ache. Then, under the starry sky of the Algerian nights, we went up one last time on the terrace to fold it in the wicker baskets ... Long for me the clean linen had to bend like this ...

Later, I often dreamed of this terrace-oasis overlooking the city, feeling even smells and noises with this strange sensation of having touched the sky and when my eyes roamed the horizon, I saw this dance sheets like those of oriental women, repeated, in echo, ad infinitum on the other terraces of the white city ...


2nd prize

A Cretan summer

The yellow cement mixer can not do more by force of rotation. This scrap-iron insect, with its long legs and belly belly, furiously mixes the mortar in a construction smog. Four hours that I scratch, clogged, smooth, breadcrumbs of cement irregular bricks. I play shovel, pickaxe, trowel. My wall will soon rise to the waist. On the other side of the island, a vacationer enjoys the beneficial shade of a parasol in the colors of his hotel. A light sea breeze tickles his nostrils. He slips with delight into the torpor of a nap. There is nothing else to do. May this emptiness seem delicious to me!

My flesh retracts like an oyster. She is crackling. Shameless sun of the Cretan summer!

An indefatigable and vain stunner! Would you pity me? You overwhelm me instead! You burn me. You sting me. You cook me. My turban stuck with sickness is no longer enough to retain the sweat that forms, mixed with sunscreen and dust, a greyish and blinding ointment. I wipe myself with the tip of the shoulder, a typical gesture of construction workers. More than a square centimeter of clean hand! I'm hungry. I am thirsty. As a marathon runner at the thirtieth kilometer, I am introspective. Assist in the construction of a museum for marine turtle preservation. What a tempting idea on paper! What crazy once under the dodger!

"Lunch time people!". I drop my tools on the ground, heavily, nonchalantly, the weary and rustic attitude of the satisfied but hungry worker. I get rid of my dirty turban that I hang on the handle of an abandoned broom. Small groups are already forming in the neighboring field.

In the shade of the olive trees, volunteers from around the world share bread, pies and some fruits. I decide to go it alone. Arrived at the camp the day before, I still feel free to isolate myself without being taxed with lunatism or to illustrate the french arrogance. I spotted this morning a monastery hanging on the mountainside, about a kilometer from the site.

I drag my carcass up, cursing myself for taking a climb, even short, at this hot hour. The monastery stands, dominating, in all its orthodoxy, in the purity of the stone, faithful to the collective imagination, cliché projection of postcards printed by the ton. Of those that holidaymakers send even though they left the beach only for the airport. I arrive at the level of a blinding white building. Around, is a maze of steps, colonies of cats skinny and not shy. Everything is there. The rounded lines, the stingy windows, barriers against the leaden sun. The cross, pure, blue, solitary, alone above the chapel.

In a hurry, overflowed in this immaculate inertia, an obese priest crosses the small courtyard. He is wearing the traditional black kaftan. He draws a dark silhouette, gigantic, massive, fleeting, as mysterious as faith. The priest did not look at me. Yet, visitors are not legion.

The sun leaves me no respite. I borrow at random the staircase left, flattering the passage of the rump of a cat lascivious, spread on the side. A blessed Greek cat.

At the top, I discover a naked progress of a striking white, piercing, solemn simplicity. No railings. No limit to the dream. Just the sea in the distance. Nothing prevents the eye. The Greek interpretation of the naturalistic dream of Curzio Malaparte. White, limpid, as glacier and smooth as the blue expanse that prolongs it. An illusion. That of drowning, to dive if one advances too much.

A terrace shaped by the man. An Eden for the gods.

On the sides, an olive tree invites me to rest and contemplation. The Mediterranean offers itself to me in all its sensuality. This terrace is humility. She offers her nudity as an offering to the most beautiful pageantry of nature. By its pure lines, its straight lines, its lack of superficiality, its aesthetic frugality, it is also perfection.

I'm happy to be alone there. My senses are tenfold. I feel the path traced by the cool water lining my throat. I have the feeling of reaching a nirvana. I am at peace.

Of white. Then a deep blue. The heat of a summer. The silence. I am demobilized.

I open my wallet gently, quietly, with respect. I cut a piece of bread, rustic, compact, from those that keep for several days without flinching. I pierce a tin can. Bread. Tuna. A knife. A cloth. A feast.

Back against my olive tree, I'm lucky. I enjoy the luxury of an empty terrace, neither decorated nor landscaped, a simple white rectangle by me alone inhabited. A terrace that flows into the sea. A moment of inner peace. An infinite feeling of freedom. Authentic luxury.

On this bare terrace, I feel disengaged.

I will come back here. Alone. Every day. Take advantage of the fact that nature is offered to me without intercessor. I will come back and I will not say anything.


3rd prize:


Terraces in the Cevennes, there is only that. This is the country of the terraces. For several centuries the inhabitants of this terroir have lived only thanks to terraces, terraces and chestnut trees. Murettes, acols, restanques, the land of the mountain only holds by these terraces. it goes up, it goes up along the stone stairs built in stoned stone walls. Or it goes down dru, very thick. It is standing almost flat on a width of 10 to 15 meters, little more. And yet, well exposed to the sun, to the south-east, to the dodder, to the mountainside, everything grew on these terraces, wheat, barley, rye, and oats, vines, chestnuts, without forgetting vegetable gardens, down near the water of rivers and springs. And higher and higher, always the vine and the chestnut trees, finally, at the top, the pines. In the plots of meadow, the goats and the sheep gave themselves to full belly. It was a few decades ago. In the 60s, those of the twentieth century, everything was still in good condition. Granite and shale had not sunk and the walls were not crumbled. The terraces were good. No brambles, no brooms, no holly or thorny. A clean, inverted, dark and prosperous land.

Cultivated terraces to which the terraces of the houses responded. In the Cévennes farmhouses, austere, imposing, narrow in villages or isolated on the mountainside, there was always one or more terraces, well exposed to the south but protected mostly by the trellises of isabelle or clinton, the grape varieties abandoned . These vines were supported by chestnut poles, resistant and abundant wood. These are the vines that made the awning and each farmhouse had one.

In a Roman village, on the way to Regordane, the farmhouse of my grandparents had of course a terrace facing south-west. This one looked out on the back of the house and it was necessary to cross it to go in the closed or the adjoining vine. This terrace was very sheltered, closed on one side by the drying chestnuts and on the other by the wall of the vine and the old staircase that climbed into the attic. A single space bordered with giant pink and blue hydrangeas opened on the closed, vast meadow with cherry trees and apple trees and even with a swing in the pear tree. This terrace partly lauze and partly gravelled, was covered with a vine arbor and sundown afternoons afternoon of July and August, the family after the Sunday lunch, read, sleepy or daydreamed. Not a sound except the cicadas, the locusts, the bees, the ball of flies and the few bleatings of goats and sheep that were waiting for fresh to go out. A long table made of chestnut wood - but sorry! the one outside, especially not inside! - benches, wooden chairs and chairs that are now called Chilean, the fabric invariably striped blue and white - but sorry! with footrest! - composed the furniture of this terrace deliciously shaded. We, the little ones, were bored a bit because we had to take a nap while our parents and our grandparents were talking, chatting, playing cards or doing nothing either. My grandfather read the newspaper assiduously, my grandmother Paris Match and my mother and sister the Echo de la Mode, novels.

On this terrace, my grandmother cultivated, in a garden of pots that would have had nothing to envy to those of today, plants and flowers long ago out of fashion, forgotten and old, rediscovered today , fuchsias, agapanthus, geraniums and pelargoniums, arums, lilies, carnations, apple trees of love. On the wall of the chestnut drier climbed a rose tree so old and fragrant that it was pure marvel. He could have rivaled a Prince of Siam. All this embalmed and staggered to that of grandchildren who threw ball or ball in these pesky pots or in the rose that had yet seen others. The pleasure, for us little ones, was first of all to slam the bells of fuchsias between our little fingers then, in the evening, the moment of watering, each armed with a watering can in our size. We watered copiously or feebly these flowers under the watchful eye of my grandmother who rectified if necessary our talents as novice gardeners.

In the album of this family house, I find this atmosphere where time seemed so long, so stretched, so calm. On Sunday evening, the only day that dinner was a dinner party, we had dinner outside, very rare and my grandmother had on the table sausage, pâté, goat cheese, large dish of green beans with garlic in salad and we broke the crust in absolute happiness. Then it was the sacrosanct time of the game of petanque we little were a little excluded.

These terraces have been enlarged, the walls have opened larger windows for more light, one has got used to living more outside than in the summer, the deckchairs and sunbathing have mixed with the Chilean, teak and aluminum took precedence over wood, flower pots tripled in volume, Anduze vases came out, barbecues appeared not far from the pools. But there is everywhere this accessible dream of a long wooden table with its pitcher of water for pastis, multicolored glasses for orangeade, colored cushions on chairs of raw wood and above the unmatched freshness of a trellis, roof of greenery for moments out of time.

Elisabeth Voguet-Sirhugues