de guingois

The scene was so classic that I wondered, as I snuck up to snap the photo, if it wasn't staged! Notice the underwear: one per "hook". Photo taken in Nyons (next to a chichi restaurant. Well, that oughta show 'em!).

Capture plein écran 21122011 083440It is exciting to watch the numbers as this self-published book competes with the "big guys". At one point, Blossoming in Provence made it within the top 400 in book sales at Amazon.

Many of you might be curious as to how those numbers, or popularity rankings, translate into actual book sales. If an author ranks #383 (or the 383rd most popular book sold at Amazon) he or she must be selling thousands of books, right? I checked those sales details this morning and here are the facts:

In the first four days since publication, 602 copies of Blossoming in Provence have been sold (most people bought one copy--though a few readers bought four copies each!) This means that over 550 readers have purchased a copy of Blossoming.

...That leaves 28,000 email readers without a book!... 

The question now is... Have you bought your copy of "Blossoming in Provence"? Please know that your individual purchase makes a great difference to me. Perhaps you are waiting to buy the book at some point in the future, when you can get around to it. Why delay?  Thank you for clicking here to order a copy now.

And thank you all for staying with me during these crucial first weeks of book marketing. I appreciate your patience—and even your interest—in the publication process. Merci beaucoup! 
(A special thanks to those who have blogged, Facebooked, Tweeted, or simply told a friend about "the new book on France").
de guingois (deuh-gehn-gwah)
    : askew, lopsided

marcher de guingois = to walk lop-sidedly
tout va de guingois = everything's going haywire

Audio File & Example Sentence: listen to the French word "de guingois" and to this expression: "marcher de guingois":Download Wav or MP3 

"The Marais, says Jacob Berger, a film director who lives and works in the neighborhood, is de guingois--that is to say, slightly askew."

--from the National Geographic article:
"Bohemian rhapsody: on the right bank of Paris history and hip embrace..." 

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

(Note: The following story was first published in 2008)

Another odd Christmas tree this year. I should have taken Mom's advice: get an artificial one! Apart from being good for the environment, those faux firs come in perfect shapes: full-bodied and symmetrical; especially, they're kilter—and not helter-skelter!

If I weren't such a procrastinator, I would have gotten the tree I wanted: Super Sapin! (Not a bird, not a plane.... ) Though our tree may not fly or save lives (it certainly won't save the earth), it does look as if it were set for take off, what with its long and HORIZONTAL arc... like a Boeing 747.

"It's lopsided!" I point out to Jean-Marc, after he has placed the tree. "Wait a minute..." I remark, suspiciously. "Didn't it come with a stand?"

"No. It didn't."

"You mean the nursery didn't have stands for sale?"

"They did, but the stands weren't any good."

They never are! He was just trying to get out of buying a stand! Next, I discover his solution: our umbrella stand. He's swiped our umbrella stand to use for a tree brace. Pas vrai!

If it weren't so amusing—to see that tree stuffed, de guingois, into the umbrella stand like a wet parapluie—I'd scream! But I am learning to laugh at these peculiarities. Take, for example, our bathroom light fixture, the one just above the mirror. When the screw fell out, we might have replaced it. Instead, a box of aspirin was set between the light and the mirror (now, when the box of aspirin pops out, all we have to do is pick it up off the floor (easier to see than a small screw) and stick it back in its place). Ta-da!

Chez nous, it is always a balancing act... a regular circus we are! From time to time, I find myself lamenting, "Why... why can't we just be normal?" Why do I have to lean to the side in order to see our Christmas tree as it should be? Why can't our tree stand be normal looking, like the tree stands of other French families? Why do we have to treat our pine as a parasol? Still grumbling about my husband's eccentricities, I gather the fresh laundry which I have strewn around the house on every free hook or chair back or table (any freestanding structure will do). Other housewives may have hung out their clothes on the line to dry today, but I don't trust the northern wind: sacré Mistral!

Collecting some dry underwear from the fire-stoker rack beside the cheminée, and reaching for some chaussettes sèches (slung over the candelabra), I notice the look on my husband's face... but I am quick to put him back in his place; after all, it is HE who is the oddball!

However different, there we stand, united in silence, our heads leaning to the same side as we study our Christmas tree.

"It's lopsided, you know."

"Yes, Dear," my husband looks over at me. Our eyes return to the lopsided tree as we stare silently.

"Il a pris un sacré coup de Mistral!" Jean-Marc offers, and our silence dissolves into laughter.

French Vocabulary
le sapin = fir (tree)
pas vrai = it can't be true!
de guingois = lopsided
le parapluie (m) = umbrella
sacré Mistral = blasted Mistral (wind)
la cheminée = fireplace
chaussettes (f) sèches = dry socks
il a pris un sacré coup de Mistral = it was hit by a mighty gust of wind


Braise (left) and Smokey (right) wish everyone a lovely celebration!

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.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check
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3. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

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