If you’re new to je parle américain, you may not have noticed it, but if you’re a long-term fan, you’ve certainly remarked that the presses seem to have shut down recently. As a matter of fact, the last article appearing on the blog was published almost six months ago! That’s a pretty long hiatus, I’ll admit. There was a time not too long ago when I would have been anxiety-ridden if I’d let just one week go by without publishing something new for my readers. Why the big change? Well, I’ve “blamed” the recent creative drought primarily on my job as an English teacher, which I started in January. “The demands on my time are just too great … I don’t have those long periods of time anymore to really delve into a subject like I used to … I’m just too tired to write after getting home from work.”
The French call it “le syndrome de la page blanche” (“white page syndrome”). In English, we call it writer’s block:
“A usually temporary psychological inability to begin or continue work on a piece of writing.”
— The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language
When the “unconscious self is vetoing the program demanded by the conscious ego.”
— Victoria Nelson
“… stay[ing] a whole day with your head in your hands trying to squeeze your unfortunate brain so as to find a word.”
— Gustave Flaubert
“There may be a stretch of weeks or months when it doesn’t come at all; this is called writer’s block. Some writers in the throes of writer’s block think their muses have died, but I don’t think that happens often; I think what happens is that the writers themselves sow the edges of their clearing with poison bait to keep their muses away, often without knowing they are doing it.”
— Stephen King
“… [W]riter’s block is simply the dread that you are going to write something horrible.”
— Roy Blount, Jr.
That pretty much sums it up. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not calling myself a WRITERwith a capital “w” …I’ve never even written anything longer than a short story. But writing for je parle américain has become my pastime, my catharsis, and my therapy. The problem is that, lately, I’m just not doing much of it, and I don’t know how to start back. Continue reading It’s Not You … It’s Me.
Reader Advisory: The following is about as “People Magazine”
as you’re ever going to get from je parle américain …
You could almost hear the gasps among certain of our friends on Facebook tonight when the news hit that French model and music star Vanessa Paradis and her partner, American film superstar Johnny Depp, were splitting up. Before tonight, I dare say that many of myfriends back in the States would’ve been hard pressed to even come up with “Mrs. Depp”‘s name, but she’s a veritable institution here in France, and her Bohemian love story and family life with Johnny were almost legend.
Johnny and Vanessa’s love story started in Paris back in 1998, when Johnny noticed Vanessa across the bar of the Costes Hotel in Paris. According a People Magazine piece from 1999, Vanessa told her friend and biographer Alain Grasset that she “spotted [Johnny] pretty soon after he noticed her” and the two “were exchanging secret glances. When he invited her to his table, he made a place for her to sit down and … she went straight for it.” They spent a few hours talking, there were fireworks, and the rest is history.
Romantic huh? Maybe it reminds you of another story you’ve heard? About glances across a crowded bar and the beginning of an international love story? Yeah? No? Maybe? Okay, click here for a reminder. Michel and I used to joke about Vanessa and Johnny being our “celebrity couple analogs” … or, as I like to describe it, “Sultry French singer meets devastatingly handsome American.” Okay, so maybe the analogy isn’t spot on, but it’s good for a chuckle over drinks with friends … or for the hook of a blog post. Ahem. So, getting back to the story at hand …
Today, in honor of my mother, who taught me the most important things about how to live my life, I share one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard and one of the most touching music videos I’ve ever seen:
“Mother,” by Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros
The song is based on a poem that the group’s lead singer, Alex Ebert, wrote for his mother about a year ago. In a recent interview, he told Spinner, AOL’s music website, “I wanted to explain to her that taking her for granted for so much of my life was less a function of my admitted selfishness and more a function of her unwavering love for me. Her unflinching steadiness I took to be immovable fact — I took her for ‘granite,’ as the poem goes, to make my stand upon.”