Why does this Provençale hollyhock remind me of Hawaii? This flower is for Aunt Betty, Aunt Missy, and Aunt Janet. Je vous aime!


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un brouillon (bruh-yon) noun, masculine

    : draft (rough draft)

brouillon, brouillonne (adjective)

    untidy, disorganized

un brouillon, une brouillonne = a muddler, muddlehead 

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Le professeur de notre cours d'écriture nous a demandé de faire un brouillon d'une nouvelle.
The teacher of our writing class asked us to write a rough draft of our short story.


A Day in a French Life... by Kristin Espinasse

For the record, one can write a 12-page (double-spaced) rough draft in 56 minutes, especially when one's story is five days past deadline

My writing class begins at the end of the month and I have not yet followed instructions and sent off my story to fellow classmates. Then again, not all my fellow
camarades de classe have sent their story to me, which spells relief. 

In order to fully profiter from the short story writing class, we'll need to get our work done, illico! It would not be fair to the teacher, it would not be fair to classmates, and it would not be fair to ourselves... to arrive on June 27th bare-handed and brouillonne (or muddleheaded)

For the most part I have been muddleheaded, and any motivation and good intentions tend to ebb and flow.... Meantime, I am spending a lot of time talking to myself:
 "Just use the story of the dogs getting lost in Marseilles. That will fulfill requirements.  Why rack your brain? It's summertime! "

"But that would be cheating," my conscience points out. "You've already written and published that nouvelle. You need to put yourself in the same shoes as your classmates: you need to be agonizing over that blank page!"

And so I dutifully agonize.

Finally, g
ung ho, I began "Home-sitting" (in which a senile goat sports espadrilles while the protagonist deals with a few house-sitters before leaving for vacation). This story was begun 5 days ago, in response to our teacher's request for our manuscripts.... 

Then Mom had her say and I put the goat aside in time to begin a new story: "Naked." This story went on to be renamed "Staircase Wit", but even the change in title couldn't fool inspiration. Enthusiasm waned and the muse said Meh! (I admit, I had to look up the Muse's geeky response to understand what she was hinting at: boredom).

Then, yesterday morning, while shopping at the market, a story fell from the French skies and I could not believe my good fortune! Only, writing it would mean scratching the first two stories, and beginning all over again.

I told myself it was just a matter of sitting down and writing out the actual events: from the surreal incident that had just befallen me, one in which I was once again mistaken for a pute. 

In order to capture the story, I needed only to go over the picture frames in my mind, and write down, frame by frame, what had happened in the space of 45 minutes (when a local made me an offer that I found easy to resist).

I told myself not to worry about the art of writing; though that is a part of good story telling, it isn't "all" of it. The most important part is to have an interesting story to tell. Mine was a doozy (even if it made me out to be a floozy). 

Because God had just dropped the story into my lap, free for the taking, it was my duty to accept the gift. I quickly returned home, so excited about the story that it never occurred to this mistaken pute to be offended or downright enraged.

What had happened to me amounts to no more than
les hasards du métier. Since giving myself this job of "writer," some eight years ago, a day doesn't pass wherein I don't thank my
étoiles chanceuses for letting me continue to chronicle life, as it putts and strutts in front of me. 

Now to have fun telling my story. I wish I could share it with you, but then my fellow villagers might be inclined to tar and feather a certain pauvre type who mistook a certain pauvre pen-pusher for a hooker.


Writing notes: in the interest of embellishment, I chose the words "pute" and "hooker" to illustrate my story. Truth-be-told, I was simply taken for "loosey" or loose-moraled lady. Not that there was any evidence on my person to lead anyone to assume such a thing!

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Vocabulaire /Vocabulary

 le/la camarade de classe = classmate

illico (illico presto!) = right away

une pute = prostitute 

une étoile chanseuse = lucky star 

un pauvre type = loser 

les hasards du métier = job hazards  


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In other news... Alexi is back! He is doing a two-week internship here at Domaine Rouge-Bleu. The kids and Jean-Marc are happy to finally get a good meal, as only one can, when guests arrive! Note: that's Mom's race horse painting in the background.

Vying for Alexi's attention.  More about Alexi, via a story, here.

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In film:  Paris Je T'aime Paris I love You.



A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety