Sad Heart, Merry Spirit : Chronicle 9

I read in a Claude Roy diary, as he’s around 70 years old, that he would like to reach this season, this state : “Le temps du cœur triste et de l’esprit gai” – the time of the sad heart and the merry spirit.

Here I have a vocabulary problem : is “gai” happy, merry, gay, jolly? I don’t know. I chose merry.

But I’m very fascinated by this “goal”, from an aged author I liked very much. As if he knew he could never heal his heart. But, knowing this, building his own happiness, a “merry spirit”. This touched me, a lot.

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Just read an article evoking Robert Osborne, a TCM Television Presenter who just died at 87 years old. It is told that Olivia de Havilland had with him :

One phone call a week, for decades.

Awwweeee! (-> this was the sound of my merry spirit). I wish I had a friend so close that she would call me once a week until I die at 87. Like a whatever-happens-I-want-to-talk-with-you. Awwweeee again (my merry spirit if very merried by this idea).

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I read (but where, is it Casanova or Jünger?) about the Venice Purse, a knack which says that when you have to go to a “dangerous” place (which was Venice at the time), you needed to have two purses, one with a little money in case you’re robbed, attacked, knocked out, and another one with the main part of it – well hidden.

It’s just funny to know, but then you realize that when you travel abroad you really have to think about what you do with your passport, the amount of money you have with you, etc. I wonder what this concept can tell us about life in general : Be cautious? Watch the exits? Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket? But also : GO to places where you need to think about the Venice Purse, right?

Venice, in French, is VENISE. A perfect word to say : Venizzz. Elegant as a swan, right? Venice is more like braking at the end. No good. French better, sorry.

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Elmore Leonard says somewhere about novels writing : “If it seems written, I rewrite”.

What a beautiful idea, right? Writing Style Dissimulation Efforts.

And a paradox many artists know well : work, work, work, until nobody sees you worked. It’s an interesting goal, and the path itself is enthralling too. How to reach?

There’s a balance to find, I suppose. It means you have the eyes to know when it’s not OK, when it is OK. Experience.

Well I have a vocabulary problem again. When do you use “enthralling“, dear? Can you say that about a person? How is it radioactivitied? Thrilling? Fearful? Exciting? Or more like “plainfully satisfying”?

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I watched the Iowa episode of Aerial America yesterday. It’s amazing how many times I hear “French” in these. Detroits and Illinois were “frenchised” words, and how Iowa is a piece of this territory called Louisiana, the US bought to the French 214 years ago.

These TV programs tell me how BIG are the United States. Tonight I’ll watch Illinois, following the path of Bill Bryson’s book across America in car (cf Fixin’to traveling in the USA).

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OK, it’s too long. I seize the run-up since a few weeks (is “seize the run-up” a good title?), like making the most of an epistolary energy…

I stop here. Next Chronicle next week. Here’s le hug by Ze French :

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Have a nice day!

 

Fixin’to #traveling (again without moving) in the #USA

Sweatin’ like a sinner in church…

I downloaded a bunch of Smithsonian TV episodes of Aerial America. I just watched the Michigan one, and, say, I’ll probably watch the whole pack!

It’s just one hour long, it’s “taken from helicopter” so I see the country from above, it’s… interesting. There’s a little of History and some funny stories (Kellog’s, Detroit, Eminem, General Motors, Ford, the German population, lakes, and the fact it’s divided in two pieces). The flaws are : there are not enough maps to explain things. It’s not linked enough to the neighbor states. And the narration is a little too much American-TV (so everything is “THE BEST OF THE WORLD” – or the biggest stadium of the country, the greatest factory of the fifties in America, or the longest bridge EVER, etc).

I also have a pack of movies about American History. It’ll help, this summer, I bet, to move forward.

You’ll find plenty of arrogant European people telling that people in USA are non traveling ignorants who don’t even know where Belgium or Italy are on a map. But ask a French what is the capital of Colorado, or to place Oklahoma on the US Map, and you’ll see.

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I began to read the hilarious Bill Bryson book called The Lost Continent. This guy is from Iowa and decided one day to explore his country with two big loops (cf map). So my next episodes will be Iowa and maybe Missouri. It’s another way to visit without moving, right?

When Bryson crosses some cities like Des Moines, Hannibal or Palmyra, I often stop reading and I go on Instagram. I search Pella, Iowa, for example, and, well, I see the land, the sky, the church, the roads, what people do, what people like (cycling or all terrain vehicles?). Do I see vineyards or corn fields? I can’t wait for Wiscasset, Maine, right? I Google-mapped too, a little.

I wonder what you people “feel” when you see one of yours words written in the UK way. For example with realise/realize or colour/color.

Yesterday I spent a lot of time on YouTube exploring accents. What is really the Southern Accent? So I watched this :

 

Sorry for my English, it’s difficult some days. I’m French, after all!…

Thanks for reading!

JP

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Instagram : la_fille_de_la_cote

“And he heard how I laughed with you” : Chronicle 6

Happiness is a strange thing. Sometimes we forget to laugh, then we suddenly have someone who’s able to open a box. We laugh. It’s a strange and delicious laugh. It’s THIS box opening. A new sound. Something new. And we laugh.

As a French, I learnt at school that New was pronounced NIEW. Then I talked to Americans, all saying NOO. So now I’m proud to say : “Hey! That’s new!”. Correctly said (noo) and with the “no space between new and the “!”. I find SO interesting that we French are used to add a space here : “It’s new!” -> “C’est nouveau !”.

Today I watched this hippie movie, Hair, with my oldest daughter, and she and I loved it. Then we talked about the fact that last week we watched Forrest Gump. Like if we were studying the second part of the XXth Century of the United States of America, right?

I love this beginning, from Oklahoma to New York :

 

Imagine you live in America, and your street name is in Spanish, your city name is in Spanish and your school’s name is in Spanish. What does it mean? Well, OK, nothing.

I remember my own shock when I realized that San Francisco meant Saint François, and Los Angeles : Les Anges (The Angels, sorry).

I read that a wall between Mexico and the USA would be a little stupid, because Mexican immigrants mainly come by plane. Is that true? Can someone be THAT stupid? I need a lecture.

Tonight I watched a great documentary about one of your best photographer alive : William Eggleston. If you Google Image him you’ll (maybe) understand why I love him so much : he shows (with a fabulous sense of color) something intimate about the USA, he SHOWS something. And this with a “constantly random” attitude (kids, a light, a street, a store, a car), which I adore. I was watching him “hunting” images in this documentary, with a constant “awwweeee” in my mind. The eye of a photographer is something really special. I love that guy. Here are a few pictures :

 

To finish this chronicle here is a good picture I found of Facebook yesterday.

Don’t forget how you laughed. I won’t. Ever.

Have a nice day!

 

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“Interstate 80” fantasy #traveling #USA

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_80

I choose this road. 3000 miles. 60 days. Drive 50 miles a day every morning, then leave the Interstate to see what’s around. Drive. Park. Breathe. Watch things, nature, villages, cities, roads, people. Sit somewhere on a bench. Watch. Take pictures too. I could do it.

No, it’s NOT Route 66.

I can’t do it for real, because I’m shy, lazy and broke. Maybe on Google Maps?

It’s traveling without traveling. Maybe when I’ll be stuck in my bed when I’ll be 80 years old. By the way, I found the list of big cities I’d cross over.

I publish this. I have to go, dear readers : I want to visit Joliet, Illinois, now.

“Quad Cities”? Really?

San Francisco, Californie
Oakland, Californie
Sacramento, Californie
Reno, Nevada
Salt Lake City, Utah
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Sidney, Nebraska
North Platte, Nebraska
Kearney, Nebraska
Grand Island, Nebraska
Lincoln, Nebraska
Omaha, Nebraska
Council Bluffs, Iowa
Des Moines
Iowa City
Quad Cities, Iowa et Illinois (Davenport)
Joliet, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
Toledo, Ohio
Cleveland Ohio
Youngstown, Ohio
Sharon, Pennsylvanie
Clarion, Pennsylvanie
Du Bois, Pennsylvanie
Clearfield, Pennsylvanie
Bellefonte, Pennsylvanie
Williamsport, Pennsylvanie (par l’Interstate 180)
Bloomsburg, Pennsylvanie
Hazleton, Pennsylvanie
Stroudsburg, Pennsylvanie
Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvanie
New York (par l’Interstate 95)

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Freedom & Hungriness : exploring a domain “in a roundabout way”

Imagine you want to explore the life of Abraham Lincoln, or the D-Day. You can do that the proper way, reading a biography or watching a good documentary. But I like to find other path, in a roundabout way, finding another door, another color, being a little casual and inappropriate.

Take the Lincoln example. You can :

  • Read about someone’s around : his wife, a general, his murderer.
  • Read about what happened after him, or the American life before him.
  • Find pictures on the web about him, his life, his handwritten letters.
  • Read a diary of somebody who knew him.
  • Find everything about his opponents.
  • Explore one month only of his life and the country’s life too.
  • Find a Lincoln forum on the web and spend months exploring, reading questions and answers of specialists.

Tool :

Casualness in knowledge exploration is a possible way.

Thanks for reading!

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Writing in another language

I’m French. I write in English. Why? Here’s what I see :

  • Blogging in English forces me to me short and simple.
  • So it’s like pendrawing instead of oil painting. Water instead of wine.
  • I constantly check (and thus learn) vocabulary.
  • So I have to think about the French vocabulary too.
  • I am not distracted by any search of French “Style”, and it’s a relief.
  • I quit my well known ground, to find another babyway to walk on another soil.
  • Writing in French is like “too easy”, it flows fast (as I type) from ideas to words.
  • Writing in English is more like building a little plane-model with unusual words. It’s slower, and a pleasure too.
  • There’s a playing child pleasure into it.
  • As it’s not my “tongue”, I feel really more chilled out when I write here.
  • Therefore I can focus on my little tools, not “How to say that in French properly”.
  • I invent words with a smile.
  • I make mistakes on purpose… with a smile.
  • I know and feel that I miss something, and I have to ignore it, and let go.
  • I can speak English, but I’m also quite lost in it. I explore, then.
  • I learn constantly about American culture, just by watching the way this language expresses things.
  • Idioms are different, and each time it’s like finding a jewel.
  • It’s probably an exercise for “one day write in French”, with new eyes and muscles-of-the-brain gained from writing in another language.
  • It can also be a way to voluntarily lose bad habits in my own language.

 

Beautiful books are always written in a sort of foreign language, said Marcel Proust. That’s a great seed for the mind, don’t you think? It’s about style. When I’ll “write back” in French, I’m sure I’ll be richer, then, because of my English exploration years…

Merci!

 

About ze #French accent

OK I’m French, and my English is complètement full of erreurs.

It’s not that I don’t give a frog’s fat ass (an elegant idiom I learned about yesterday) : when I began this blog, I asked a friend to fix my mistakes, and she said that she could almost HEAR mon accent Français in the text!

But yesterday I had un choc. I watched un documentaire HBO about Vogue (ze magazine). One of the French fashion lady was from France…

I’m pretty sûr that she lives in America since years, but she visiblement had pleasure to “spik like ZAT”, like with a level 7 French casualness.

However, it’s really not hard to say “a dress” instead of “a drrress”, like we “R” the “Rs” in Frrrance, as you know. No effort here…

Yes it’s like… charming, right? Yet I wonder : what should I do if I one day come to the USA? Do I try to speak like American people, or do I lower my tonguework to casually stay “morrre French”?

Thanks for reading! Bonne journée !

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