regard fixe


Door in St Tropez (c) Kristin Espinasse at
Knock knock. Who's there? Life, just outside the door. Read on, in today's story.

nolife (noh life) noun, masculine

 A nolife is a person who devotes a very big part (if not an exclusive part) of his/her time to practicing his/her passion (or work) to the detriment of other activities.

Un nolife est une personne qui consacre une très grande part (si ce n'est l'exclusivité) de son temps à pratiquer sa passion, voire son travail, au détriment d'autres activités. (from French Wikipedia)

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

There is a new term getting quite a lot of tongue time here in France lately. I hear it spoken by the twenty-somethings and French teens. I heard Alexi say it, when I asked him if he was on one of the social networks. (Je ne suis pas un nolife, he informed me.) And I sometimes hear my children say it, when greeting me in my office at the start of their day: salut Nolife, say they.

So what better word to
celebrate the 1000th post here at French Word-A-Day?: "nolife"

Au contraire!: to live one's passion is to be a yeslife! For passion fuels creativity, and to create is to be
en vie. (By the way "envie"—not to be confused with "en vie"—kills life... the envious are the original no-lifers. I will remember this the next time jealousy strikes, as it does never mind how hard I try.)

As for this "nolife" writing life: 1000 posts, five self-published books, one house-published book, a handful of unfinished manuscripts, a pile of diaries dating back to 1980... and odd bits written on napkins, on envelopes, on the backs of receipts, in letters, or
on skin beneath rolled up sleeves...  how to justify
 this as a life

More than one writer has made the following observation: to write is to experience life twice. I'd say that's "new life" rather than "no life". 

We leave off with a quote from Anais Nin

We write to taste life twice, in the moment, and in retrospection. We write, like Proust, to render all of it eternal, and to persuade ourselves that it is eternal. We write to be able to transcend our life, to reach beyond it. We write to teach ourselves to speak with others, to record the journey into the labyrinth. We write to expand our world when we feel strangled, or constricted, or lonely. We write as the birds sing, as the primitives dance their rituals. If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, because our culture has no use for it. When I don't write, I feel my world shrinking. I feel I am in a prison. I feel I lose my fire and my color. It should be a necessity, as the sea needs to heave, and I call it breathing.

:: Le Coin Commentaires::

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Jane Grey

Hi Kristin,

Hearty congratulations on your 1000th post! It's a major accomplishment.

I would also say as someone who beautifully touches more than 20,000 other lives three times a week, you are definitely a yeslife!!

And while I'm here, as someone who had the pleasure of meeting Kristin at the Paris Writers Workshop lectures last week, I can attest that she is even prettier in person than in her photos!

Tres bonne continuation, Kristin and thank you for 1000 delightful posts.


And how is this "nolife" pronounced en français?


1000 posts - this IS truly a reason to celebrate! Thank you, merci and Dankeschön!

Nobody can ever say to you: get a life! You certainly have several, simultaneously!

Best wishes always,


This morning's post is so lovely.

I hope I always remember it to compel me to live fully.

Thank you

Debbie Turner Chavers

Congratulations, Kristi, on your 1000th post. A milestone of words scattered like stars across the pages of your experience.
Thank you for sharing.


Nolife? Bah! Good thing we know tes enfants have bold senses of humour!!:) It certainly is a very full life, heaped with passion for the written word inspired by everything surrounding the life you have fearlessly (most definitely!) built for you and your family.

Thank you for sharing so many parts of your vibrant life with all of us, and congratulations on this milestone 1000th post!

Bonne journée.

Jackie Sand

What a grand accomplishment Kristin! You've filled our hearts and minds and I am grateful for your writing, thoughts, humor and open doors.
Bonne continuation-

Robyn France

Kristin--Félicitations! What a wonderful accomplishment and sharing of your experience. We have just moved and I have put your book in a prominent spot along with some other French classics--it's the one I often share with my adult students who always enjoy it. I thank you for engaging us in your open, loving approach to life

Jean(ne)  Pierre in MN

Kristin, you definitely say "oui" to life, and share it with us graciously, in many ways, with words, pictures, quotations and your personal touch. Congratulations on your 1000th post, and I hope for many more insights.
Hot & humid in the Twin Cities.

Ophelia in Nashville

Félicitations, Kristin! What a beautiful and perfect 1000th poste. I agree with Angela. "Nolife?" C'est bien le contraire!

Pat Cargill

A big WOO-HOO screech and holler to you, chere Kristin, on this, the auspicious 1,000th posting of French Word a Day. I continue to be excited by and most appreciative of your postings which offer a world of Life from the perspective of one who is engaged in LIVING fully and sharing it with beacoups d'autres. (My tiny French-attempt of the day, ha!) As I round out a week at a charming B&B in West Virginia, with hot! hot! weather but pleasant nights, I raise my cup of strong black coffee in a toast to you this morning! Cheers, my Dear.

ann ceraldi

I loved the excerpt from Anais Nin--as a wannabe writer (so far I just have the stack of diaries dating to the 80s!) it struck a chord with me. Congrats on your milestone, and please don't stop--I'm addicted to you now!


Congratulations on 1000 posts! All of us who blog certainly 'get' what a great achievement that is. Your determination to live French life to the fullest is an inspiration! No 'nolife' for you!

Leslie in GA

My heartiest congratulations upon reaching your 1,000th post, Kristin! You are not a "nolife"; you are a "know life", striving to be and do your best by others and yourself, as is evidenced by your writings. Thanks for all that you do to inspire us to follow the path of knowing life and ourselves!


Congratulations on your 10000th post. What an accomplishment! As always you are an inspiration!


Kudos to you for 1,000 posts! If that isn't writing then I don't know what is. I did love the quote from Anais Nin. I don't have quite that passion but each time I write I feel better about it.
So here's to 1,000 more! Cheers


1000!! Wow! Merci chere Kristin for each and every one. You have this wonderful grand "yeslife" life and I for one am so thankful that you choose to share it with us. Mille baisers de Louisiane.

gail bingenheimer

L'attitude envers le nolife a beaucoup change depuis quelques années. gail

Sally Smyth

Thank you Kristin for this morning's personal and beautifully expressed words on writing. The Anais Nin quote was inspirational. I applaud you and thank you so much for years of French Word a Day; for sharing your life with us. 1,000 posts! Congratulations and I too, and a "yeslife" or "ouivie".


Formidable citation d'Anais Nin, oeuvre admirable de ta part.

Merci pour toute inspiration!

Eileen deCamp

Congratulations on your 1000th post! What a beautiful quote from Anais inspirational and uplifting!


Congratulations yet again Kristin on your 1000th posting! You are a "yes-life" if ever I met one. All writers , to me, are brave people who share their souls with others. This is the only time I have ever blogged; your writings make me want to respond. I'd say that many writers are misunderstood by those they love, and often years must pass before those loved ones truly understand the sacrifices a writer makes. I applaud you and see you as a unique and special contributor to the happiness of many! God bless,

Herm Meyer in Phoenix, AZ

Salut Kristin,

A thank-you toast
To our gracious host
Who gives her most
To bring us this post

This fine rendition
With the 1000th edition
Is a rare condition
Becoming a tradition

À bientôt



Thank you Herm and friends! Touched to tears here in the canicular Rhone (the heatwave is here!)

It is getting so that I can identify the writers of these comments before scrolling down to see their names (is it the same for you?). This is the gift you give: your unique selves and your generosity of response to these posts. What more inspiration could one want to continue?

Sally, wonderful, your "ouivie" -- reminds me of "weaving" (word weaving, or weaving through life's experiences, among other things).

Kristine, Dallas (hot and sunny)

Puits - fait, très magnifique!


you are awesome! Your words make our souls think deeply and our hearts sing. Congratulations on such a wonderful accomplishment, xo

Sion @ paris (im)perfect

Congratulations, Kristin. 1000! That is amazing. I've never heard this term "nolife" in French before, but I certainly agree with how you've termed it. Yeslife, indeed! I've just come back from an intense writing residency and believe strongly that telling our stories help give meaning to our lives. Writing is difficult - and vital. It takes a lot of focus - we are the lucky ones for being able to read your efforts. 'Nolife' doesn't equate in my book! Write on!

Fred Caswell

Felicitations, Chere Ouivie! Un mille de posts et six de livres publies!!!!!!

I echo the words above from Jacqueline and Robin.

How I love the part of Anais' quote -- "If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don't write, for our culture has no use for it". Beaucoup d'amour a tous

Julie F

Félicitations on 1000 posts! Now I know tha mark I'm reaching for. Most people have no idea how hard it is to be a writer. Your regular wonderful witty posts make it seem so easy.

I read the word today as "no life," as in my kids' frequent putdown when they were teens . . . "It's not like I have no life like you." But as Rousseau said, "I may be no better [than anyone}, but at least I'm different.

Well, if I'm going to rise to your level of accomplishment I'd better get writing, even though it's too hot and sunny here in Dijon (even inside our apartment).

Arnold Hogarth

I dug these out for you . .
There is no telling how many miles you will have to run while chasing a dream. - Author Unknown

There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second - Logan Pearsall Smith: 1865 – 1946

Congratulations - a milestone! Keep truck'n ...

Margaret Lunt

A nice little quote from Anais Nin. I'll share it with my daughter who is a reporter/write and has been a fan of hers.
Congratulations also.
Reading your French wod temporarily gets me out of the cubicle blues here at work.


joie  carmel,ca

congrats on the 1000! What an accomplishment. The word "nolife" is misrepresented. I think that those that do not have a passion to pursue are the "nolife" personnes!

Stacy, Applegate, Oregon

I, too, have been moved to tears...delighted by all the comments celebrating and honoring you and your accomplishment! I loved the quote and lovely post.

Yes, you are more beautiful in person and this is true on the inside and out. I am so grateful our paths crossed in that college gym so many years ago. Your gracious and beautiful spirit inspired me then, as it has continued to do so for twenty plus years.

Today I celebrate the life you’ve made by following your heart, risks you’ve taken and the bountiful ways in which you’ve been blessed and in so doing, blessed all of us! Lots of Love and a big bouquet of my favorite Windermere roses from my garden!

Julie Schorr

Congratulations, Kristin on your 1000th post! Your words add so much to my classes. My students keep journals and write down your French-word-a- day at the start of every class. I look forward to starting the new school year with all these wonderful posts.
Bonne continuation et merci!!
Sam Diego, Ca

Marianne RAnkin

Mille felicitations a l'occasion du millieme poste! You have surely struck well over 1,000 chords in the minds/souls of your readers.

I just recently read a quotation by John Updike, which, as accurately as I can recall it was this: "When you write, you have created something new which is added to the world, without anything having been taken away." You've added a lot!

Johanna DeMay

Bonjour Kristin,
Mille félicitations for your thousand posts! What a milestone! Around the world, your readers and friends are celebrating with you.
And thank you so much for the Anaïs Nin quote. I have copied it and pinned it up above my desk. No more do I need to try to explain the long hours I spend here - it's all in that wonderful paragraph which has obviously resonated with so many!
Thank you for your work, for your words, and for your lovely self!


Julie Dufaj

Je vous felicite! Only a very rich life could accomplish what you have done! Your appreciation of that mesmerizing passage by Nin shows what a profound life you do indeed have. Perhaps for you, the richer landscape is in the inner vistas. You have been given a gift to which "obsession" is a duty that perplexes others. So often, the gifted life is a lonely life.

When I see you in my mind, I see a little golden jewel scintillating in the French countryside, emitting solar storms in the form of blogs and books. I would guess that sometimes the desires of your heart threaten to incinerate you. Helas! It is thus with the creative life.

Diane Cissel

Thank you for the Anaîs Nin quote! I'm a painter and the statement is true for me when I substitute the verb "to paint" for the verb "to write." Il se peut que je sois aussi un nolife qui est en fait un yeslife!

Bill M in Dallas

Chere Kristin,

Congratulations! I celebrate your accomplishments - your writing and your life adventures. You boldly share your trepidations and your courage while engaging and saying,
"Yes to Life!"

From the perspective of an older generation, I used to worry about your sharing so much. But, seeing how much you enrich the life of others, I treasure the precious insights from your life that you share. And, I take heart to keep writing for my own local audience.

Kristin, the beautiful responses from your readers are confirmation that you have something worthwhile to say and an inspired voice with which to say it.

Much encouragement to your passionate pursuit of a life well-lived!

Yvonne en Calif.

Comme Claudette, je voudrais savoir comment prononce-t-on le "i" en "life"? Est-ce "i" comme "il" et "y" comme "Yves" ou "i" comme "ail"?

Mes félicitations, et je vous remercie de tous les mots que vous ajoutez à mon vocabulaire.


Félicitations, Kristin! What an accomplishment of spreading so much cheer to so many. Cheers to many more!!

Bob and Angela

Congratulations Kristin! (But we're still awaiting your coffee-table book of photographs!)

Your post today and the first line of the quote remind us of a conversation more than 20 years ago as we were preparing for our first trip to France. A member of the U.S. State Department told us that he enjoys each visit to France three times -- in the planning, in the actual visit, and in reviewing his diary and photos afterwards.


Thanks for all you've done and continue to do through your sharing with us. I also love the quote from Anais Nin. Beautiful.

Cheryl in STL

1.000 postes---C'est merveilleux! Félicitations!! I also love your newly coined "ouivie"!! Merci mille fois pour les mille postes!

Cliff Flanders

Félicitations, Kristin! I would say you have breathed "nulife" into my enjoyment of the French language and culture. Merci mille fois!


1000 postes is a"ouivie" not a "nolife." Congratulations and keep the ball rolling. I love reading your blog.

Jennifer in OR

Congratulations on 1000 posts, and as the Jewish say, La Chaim! (To Life!)


Congratulations---1000 is a huge number of posts. I'm in total agreement about an individual's passion--it is why we were created and nothing else will feed our spirits as a creative passion. Yes to life!! Thanks for the quote and making me stop and digest it.


Thank you Kristin for the 1000 posts & uncounted beautiful photographs. A toast to the next 1000 and more after that.

Jules Greer

Thank You Kristi for sharing your mind with me 1,000 times over....I have always said I not only love you, I am in love with you.



Diane Dainis

Congratulations Kristin on your 1000th. post. What an accomplishment along with all your other accomplishments in life.... your wonderful family, your beautiful home, delicious wine :) just to name a few. You inspire all of us to life our lives to the fullest.
Happy 1000th!!!

Jill in Sydney

1000 posts - how wonderful! And how fitting to include such an inspirational quote. I forwarded it on to my children to inspire them too. I have also challenged them to spread the nolife slang in Sydney! Thanks Kristin for regularly bringing a morning smile to my face.

Lynn McBride

Felicitations, Kristin, and amen to the above comments, which are testament to the fact that you are not a nolife but a Beau-life (well the gender's wrong, but it sounds right!). Merci for so many moving moments and for enriching our lives.


I was so busy ouivie-ing in Scotland that I missed your 1000th post! A belated congratulations to you!

I enjoyed reading all the posts as well as your own!

Mindy from somewhere in a Victorian building at Oxford University that's making me sneeze like crazy!!!!

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