Friday, November 14, 2008

Haunted By A Country

I wrote this piece earlier today, my weekly writing piece, which I exchange with my friend Gillian via email each Friday.

Yes, this is in addition to all the NaNo writing I'm doing. I'm nearly fried! (Or perhaps I am already, I'm just too fried to know it!) Writing this much (in general) is exhausting! Especially when your Hubby snores to the point you're about to lose your ever living mind! (Last night I nearly did and broke out the ear plugs! He woke me twice even still but that's better than previous nights where I ended up on the couch! And then the cats woke me instead of him!)

Anyway, I digress and give you my piece: (Huh, now THAT could be taken more ways than one!!! Sheesh! So could that! LOL!!!)

Friday, November 14, 2008
Haunted By A Country.

I realized the day before that I am currently reading 5 memoir style books which take place entirely (or just about) in France!

It started with "The Sharper Your Knife, The Less you Cry" by Kathleen Flinn. It practically jumped off the shelf and into my hands as I passed the book section on my way up to the registers at Target in September! Looking more closely at the cover, I saw the word "Paris" and decided I was buying it before reading the back cover! Turns out it's about Kathleen's decision to leave the U.S. to attend Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School after being laid off from a middle management job she didn't particularly like to begin with given that she really loved to cook and write but was dooped (like so many of us are) into putting those aside for the sake of the rat race. Interesting (to those who love Paris and/or cooking - there are details of cooking life at the school as well as recipes) and relate-able (to those who've thought of ditching the predictable for the un).

I got to page 24 (the end of Chapter 3) and the found "A Year In Provence" by Peter Mayle at the Sea Bright Public Library Book sale later in September. I bought this and 2 or possibly 3 other books for a whopping $2! It's a wonderful, older paperback from 1989 (signed by its' owner as of 1991) that's turned ivory with time and appreciation. So excited with this gem of a bargain (I've wanted to read this book for a long time!), I started reading it that evening while relaxing at the B&B in Frenchtown NJ Victor wisked me away to for the night, just because! (Yes, there were other things to do at a romantic B&B and they got done, don't you worry!!!)

"A Year In Provence" is so entertaining, with many "LOL!" moments! (And LOL I actually do!)

I reached page 39 and got distracted. There are times when I feel the obsessive/compulsive need to go to the libraries and browse for books to bring home (and attempt to read) and I did just that over the past couple of weeks or so. I hit 3 out of 5 libraries we have access to! Round 1 was Port Monmouth, round 2 was down town (Atlantic Highlands), round 3 was Middletown, round 4 was back down town and round 5 was back to Middletown. (I know, for this and many other issues I need therapy!) I blame this on the fact that I'm still looking for my next "Eat Pray Love" (Elizabeth Gilbert) or "Loving Frank" (Nancy Horan) or "The Knitting Circle" (Ann Hood), 3 phenominal books I finished this year and have yet to find any others I like half as much! (But that's another essay, already written!) And the fact that Vic & I took ABC Nightly News's "Read 1 book a Month" challenge and he's currently beating me!

During round 3, I found "Trail of Crumbs" by Kim Sunee, a book I'd read about in The NY Times Book Review and on my "to read" list. Kim chronicles her journey from Korea, to New Orleans, to Europe, to the south of France (Provence!) and I believe back to the US again. There are recipes at the conclusion of each chapter in this book as well. I am currently on page 60 and still unsure as to whether or not I even like the book so far!

Round 5 took place just yesterday - unintentionally! We had books to return, then Vic had to use the bathroom which left me time to wander...!!! During this trip, among the 6 books I brought home (I know, it's a sickness and I must stop!), I picked up "We've Always Had Paris... And Provence! A scrapbook of our life in France" by Patricia and Walter Wells AND "A Pig in Provence, Good Food and Simple Pleasures In The South Of France" by Georgeanne Brennan.

Is it me or is there a common theme/pattern forming here?! LOL! Ok, I get the hint! (Sometimes the universe is subtle - sometimes it's not!)

Sigh. I know where this is coming from.

High school. Junior year, I believe if memory serves me correctly. I was one of the French class students who signed up for the class trip to France during school break. It was the whole reason I signed up for French classes! (Besides not wanting to take Spanish!) My mother actually let me sign up.

Then when the cost went up for some reason I can't recall now, she got bitchy about it. I know she didn't really want me to go. My then boyfriend, my first 'real' boyfriend (meaning I was allowed to go out with him!) "didn't really want" me to go either. (Probably the only thing they ever agreed on).

My mother has always had a way for coming up with excuses to legitimize not doing things, which at the time seem perfectly reasonable. (Throughout my entire life until my late 20's - She's still making excuses only they no longer seem reasonable to me!)

In the end, I didn't go. I have regretted it since my classmates left for the airport. (Some were my "BFF's" back then too - 1 (Gillian) remains!

In the 1990's, after a trip to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, I became enthralled with The Impressionists, especially Monet, and their painitings of Paris were my favorite. On New Year's Eve 1999, the treshold of the new millenium, I watched the fireworks and celebration from the Eiffel Tower on ABC before going out and cried! When Carrie went to Paris on SATC, I went with her and cried again! When I learned about the Shakespeare & Company Bookstore in Paris on CBS News Sunday Morning last year or so I moved it to the top of my 'must see' list of things in France! (It's a bookstore which opened in 1951 that has not only hosted reading by published and not-yet published authors, but it's housed writers and authors upstairs, not asking them to pay anything and stay as long as needed!)

Now it seems as though France is haunting me. Or stalking me. It's on my 'list of things to do before I die' list. Perhaps recently crossing off "New England in Fall," "Salem Mass in October," and "Write/publish a book" from my list has caused France to wonder indignantly, "Hey! What about me?! You've wanted to see me longer than them! And I am more spectacular afterall!" (Got ya there on the book thing Frenchy, though, since I've wanted to write and been writing since I was a little girl! Okay, it's not published, YET, but it will be in 2009! So put that in your baret!)

The question is: When? When will I get the balls to go to France?! (I do mean that figuratively!) And, should I go with someone or by myself? Is it not safe being a female foreigner abroad? Could I go there by myself?! I'm not sure. Could I do things by myself once I was there? Yes. Could I fly there by myself? Let's not get crazy now! (I'm not a fan of flying, no matter the distance to say the least!) If I don't go to France before we have children, will I ever go? (I need to figure that one out quickly since I'd like to start trying for a baby once the New Year (2009) begins!) If I have deeply regretted not going on that trip for the last 17 years or so, how will I feel when I am older and unable to travel if I never go to France at all?

For now, I'm going back to "Trail of Crumbs" to see what details of France I can picture and absorb.

1 comment:

dragyonfly said...

Let me just say it. Girl, just make your plans and go now before you look up and you are fifty something and haven't left the country. You will be safe in France. Take your significant other or not. Take in England and Germany while you are there, too.