200 Words ~ Day 3

Nora Ephron (1941-2012), Thanks and Goodbye

Nora Ephron (1941-2012), Thanks and Goodbye (Photo credit: k-ideas)

There are a lot of “bucket lists” circulating lately.  While I find the lists interesting, the term is a little too, well—terminal. So I have decided to make a “life list” instead. Inspired by a list I found that Nora Ephron made of things she will miss (RIP Nora), I thought I should think about the things I still want to accomplish and enjoy.

Some of Nora’s list took in things that mine will not, as she was a bit more sophisticated than I.  A few of my favourite things mirror some of hers: Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas trees, Fall, reading in bed, bacon, our kids, a walk in the park, and the idea of a walk in the park.

In no particular order, here are a few things on my “life list”:

A trip to Tuscany and Provence.

Seeing my first book published, then my second,…then…..

Celebrating my 50th Anniversary in twenty years.

Organizing a yearly family reunion

Being so organized that I won’t know what to do with myself.

Being a help and not a hindrance.

(this was only 185 words  ~ now it is getting close – okay there: 200)

Published in: on July 8, 2012 at 12:35 pm  Comments (17)  
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# 2 – Writer’s Devotional or What’s up Doc?

“In a time of universal deceit—telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”                                                                                          ~ George Orwell

Cover of "Animal Farm: Centennial Edition...

Cover of Animal Farm: Centennial Edition

What did I learn from reading the first week’s entries of Amy Peters’ “The Writer’s Devotional”? The Monday entry declares that “there are many reasons to write”. I agree–I write for many reasons, not just one. Journalistically, I report the news or write magazine articles on topics that in some way hopefully enlighten; creatively, I write to express myself and in the process I try to make people laugh or stop and think for a moment. Writing is a way to get your voice heard, and I guess we have to decide what we want that voice to convey.

On Tuesday, I was encouraged  to come up with an “end goal” to decide what I want to achieve as a writer. Wednesday or writing class day provided a little blurb on using illumination (or concrete examples) to write a biography about your best friend.

Thursday provided a great gem of knowledge—“good writers are not always good editors” and vice versa. Friday, or writer biography day, gave me new insight into the author who wrote Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four. George Orwell’s real name was Eric Arthur Blair and he was born in India. Who knew? Not I.

Saturday is book day, and the first book, author of The Writer’s Devotional, Amy suggested is one written in 1962 called “Silent Spring”- a book she declared is a “wonderful example how clear and forceful writing can effect change.”

Sunday, or prompt day—shows that writers apparently do not need a day of rest. The first prompt in the book wants us to “write about a place where you’ve always fantasized living” a la Peter Mayle, who gave us Provence–a place he  lived a ‘fantasy’ life.

These are just some little snippets from the book—she elaborates on each of the subjects I just touched on—but she has me thinking –where would I like to live if I could live anywhere? This book provides some great food for thought, to use a much clichéd but apt phrase.

Writer's Stop

Writer’s Stop (Photo credit: Stephh922)

My Passport is Ready


Provence (Photo credit: bkcasteel)

They say that if you do not have any dreams, then your dreams will not come true. I have not been much of a world traveller but I have high hopes and hopeful dreams that that will change. Someone sent me one of those questionnaires so popular in emails that ask you to read their responses to some questions, then erase them, put in your own responses, and send the email back. One of the questions on the latest one I received was to name four places you had travelled to. My responses: Lafayette Coney Island Hot Dog in Detroit, McDonald’s, Ottawa, and Florida. So, as you can see, I have lots of places left to visit.

My latest obsession is to visit France:  Provence in particular, with a few side trips to Paris and perhaps a jaunt to Italy to visit the Tuscany region. What has inspired this wanderlust? The movie “A Good Year”. I have now in my temporary possession (as they are all from the library) a number of books that will prepare me sufficiently for the launch of my world travels. The first is  “A Good Year”, which not so coincidentally is the book the movie of the same name is based on. It was written by that prolific writer of all (or at least some) things French, Peter Mayle.

I have also borrowed his book, “Encore Provence” which I assume is the sequel to “A Year in Provence”; “Provence A-Z” ; “French Lessons” and even a novel he wrote called “The Vintage Capers”, which is a mystery that finds its way to Provence. For a change of pace, I swapped authors and picked up a copy of “A Year in Merde” by Stephen Clarke. He brags in a blub on the cover of his offering that: “There are lots of French people who are not at all hypocritical, inefficient, treacherous, intolerant, adulterous or incredibly sexy…They just didn’t make it into my book.” Hmm, well we shall see what he has to say, though I am thinking his book will be a bit tongue in cheek.

I have started to dabble in Mayle’s books, and have found a particularly profound passage in “Encore Provence” which has made me all the more passionate about visiting the region. In a chapter called ‘Curious Reasons for Liking Provence’, Mayle provides one that is not, to my mind, curious at all. He says (on page 84 if you are interested in the specifics) that:

“Life has not accelerated, but still dawdles along keeping time with the Seasons. The markets still sell real food that has escaped the modern passion for sterilizing and shrink-wrapping. The countryside is still wild, and unscarred by golf courses, theme parks, or condominium colonies. It is still possible to listen to the silence. Unlike so many other beautiful parts of the world which progress and ease of access have made noisy, predictable, and bland, Provence has managed to retain its individual flavour and personality. This can be delightful or exasperating, like a difficult, cantankerous old friend. But that’s the way it is, with no excuses. Take it or leave it.”

“Encore Provence” was written in 1999. I would love to see and experience all the things Mayle writes about, and decide if, thirteen years later, Provence still holds the same charm. I am sure it does.

I told a friend of mine about my dreams to go to the south of France and she asked if I spoke French. Yes, I said, I can say my last name: Geauvreau. I was appallingly poor in the language in high school, but I put it down to my lack of study ethics when I was 14, 15 and 16—they (my study habits) improved later, but alas I did not have the foundations of French to call upon when I finally took my studies more seriously. My grade 12 French teacher passed me in French, making me promise not to take it in grade 13. I promised. But I will not let that little detail deter me. Probably because I was sorely lacking in a second language, I registered both of my sons in the French immersion course in public school. Though they laughed at my pronunciation of words when I helped them with their dictees, I believe I have achieved at least a junior kindergartener’s grasp of French, as long as the JK student is none too advanced.

So, until my travel dreams can be realized, I will do some research, and perhaps even borrow a friend’s French language tapes. She is going to a wedding in Paris in May. Ah, springtime in Paris.

Cover of "French Lessons: Adventures with...

Cover via Amazon