Wednesday, February 07, 2018

February IWSG in France


Please visit our wonderful IWSG co-hosts this month:  

 I can tell it’s been a year since I’ve done any serious writing. Same thing for any kind of meaningful exercise. Both are very important to me.
Muscle memory is slowly coming back up to par in both areas, but slowly seems to be the key word. My characters are beginning to trust that I will visit them every day and so are starting to talk to me again. I’ve at least done enough now that I’m hitting the “hard” part of the work in writing. I remember this… At first it was difficult to write more than an hour a day at any one time. But I learned to keep myself going by saying, only one more scene, then you can take a break. Just one more scene, and it works! I’m up to almost three hours a day now, writing exclusively on one story, not blog posts, not other stories. I’m happy with that progress even when I tell myself I’m taking too long. I’m also walking an hour a day. This is good. I love where I am right now. I am warm, safe, alone (for a few days), and content to have no one to think of but my characters and what they will tell me next.
Here are some random photos from France. Hope you enjoy…

Bread van comes to town, and even gives window service!

A chateau in the middle of nowhere, with a moat!

Bring your own "Bidon" and fill up on wine!

My writing area. Yes, I stand while writing...

Countryside on an afternoon walk...

Abandoned farmhouse. Huge, and beautiful.

Food! Foix gras and magret, duck and duck!

A beautifully restored bathroom...

Sunday, February 04, 2018

How Lucky Am I?!

I am staying with friends who have another house in a town about an hour's drive from here and they've been gone since Thursday, leaving me alone, which I am loving. I've had time to write, listen to "new" music for scene inspiration, walk, and do whatever it is I want to do. My mind is dancing from one scene to another, listening to characters and trying new avenues, new adventures for them. Last year, when I didn't have time to write, I kept myself busy in my down time by thinking of scenes that needed help or outright changes. I thought about them so much that when it's come time to write them down, I keep thinking I've already done so but can't find them anywhere! I've gotten a lot of good laughs at myself out of this experience.
View from my window
 So, Thursday evening I want scrambled eggs and toast for dinner. I put the pan on the burner and turned the knob to light it. Nothing happens. I try another burner. Nothing again. The stove is out of gas. Oh well, there is always the microwave and something else to eat.
Leftovers from this!
Had leftovers, washed up and got ready for bed. The next day, Friday, I keep the fire going in the wood stove used for heating, write, binge watch a bit of Grandchester, write some more, and enjoy my day. I eat salad and cheese and bread for dinner. Wash up and head upstairs to my room. Later, I go into the bathroom for a shower. Brushing my teeth, I turn the shower on and nothing happens. No water. I try the sink, no luck. Mouth full of toothpaste I go down to the kitchen where an hour ago I'd done the washing up, and, no water. Luckily I had a glass of it already poured so was able to rinse my mouth.
View the other way...
Saturday morning I use the last of the butter. What good is bread without butter? I do have a car and can go get some if I really want, but decide not to. My host calls and I tell him about the gas and water, which is still not on. He thinks the water is an outside problem, and turns out he was right, because shortly thereafter I see vans in the street with "Eau" written on them. I spent Saturday afternoon writing and cleaning up the wooden stove area, brought in a bunch of wood from the stack outside while still keeping the fire going at a steady pace. Thought of a bicycle ride, but it started to rain. I wrote some more, watched more Grandchester as I had my lunch, and then decided to take the recycling to the recycling center just outside of the village. For the first time in all the many times I've been to France, I drove, alone, in France. Here I don't mind because it's so calm, full of countryside, and no traffic to speak of. Not too many crazies. By Saturday evening we had water again. A bit brown from all the messing with it they had to do, but still water. Had a lovely shower and could flush toilets again! So glad I was the only one home.
Flocks of sheep in fields that surround this village...
Lone flower in the garden
How lucky am I? In a small village in the middle of nowhere, or everywhere, I'm taking care of a house. I am writing. With and without water and gas I'm having adventures. I have electricity and heat. Did I mention I am writing? I am in heaven. 

Friday, January 26, 2018

Pathways: The French Journey Continues

Attention! Long post!
The adventure of the typewriter and calculator
Regine Deforge
I spent yesterday with friends in a town called Montmorillion, Cite d’Ecrit. How coincidental to be in France to write (and speak French) and I am introduced to a town that is all about writing. Searching for “famous” people who might have come from there or even just written there, I found Régine Deforges, author of The Blue Bicycle among other novels/stories. She was born here, lived a very controversial life, and was the first woman publisher in France. Wow. What an achievement! All over town are signs and book shops and paper boutiques; anything at all to do with writing, it’s here. It’s nice to come to places like Montmorillion in the off season because there are no crowds. On the other hand, most shops are closed till the spring when the weather turns more pleasant. In a small museum, an exhibit of the history of the type-written word and calculation machines displayed the inventiveness of humans, how hungry we are for expressing ourselves either by what we write or by the things we invent to make life more interesting or “easier.” I took, of course, too many photos, but the imagination that was needed to arrive where we are today, and for where we go from here, was/is impressive, so I wanted to share.
Cracked me up!
a pleasant street...

One of the bookstores

It writes MUSIC!
We walked up and down small, pretty, and very clean streets, bought vegetables at a stall in the market as it was closing, and drank a coffee at a small café before heading off to do the rest of the shopping we’d come to town to do. Which turned out to be a bit of a shock for me as we were catapulted back into the “modern” world of E. Leclerc, a “Hypermarche”, like Walmart, which can be found all over France, along with SuperU or CarreFour. Talk about no culture, no history and no real feel of being anywhere special. Shopping at big super markets on the outskirts of these sweet towns jerks you completely out of any earthy/ancient feeling that sweet town might have given. You could be anywhere. There is no identity in stores like that.
Another store...

A big sign...

See the white on the road, it's a plume!
Books for Everyone! "To read is the only way to live more than one life at a time...

Curious and wary sheep
Gorse in bloom
So, today I took a walk in the country.  Alone. I’d gone walking two days ago with my friends and knew the healing properties of the venture would be revitalizing. I woke up, got dressed and, knowing it was forecast to rain, took a “Brolly,” as UK friends like to say, and made my way out of the sleepy little town of Azat-le-Ris into the even more sleepy countryside. I met only sheep along the way. Sheep, rain, and mud. The sheep stared at me and bleated as I walked by, giving me more attention than I deserved. The birds sang me along until the rain begin, and then there was the squishy sound of my footsteps on “les Chemins,” the muddy tractor paths used between the fields. With the brolly over my head, I cared little about the mud. Silence, and bright specks of yellow flowers and red berries here and there among the green fields and dark trees, ah, the “earthy/realness” of countryside. Perfection. I’m trying to find my writing spirit, my muse, my reason for being here. Yet I realize I also need to reconnect with my self, my surroundings, and my body, as well as my writing. I need to become whole again. I believe once these parts of me are satisfied, I will make my way to the people in my head and their stories. Until then I will write here and flex my literary muscles. I’m looking forward to tomorrow and the new paths I will follow, both with my fingers and my feet…
Not as muddy as some of the other paths...!