se donner de la peine pour faire quelque chose
: to go to a lot of trouble to do something
Il s'est donné beaucoup de peine pour réussir.
He went to a lot of trouble to succeed.
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE...
by Kristin Espinasse
Writing Lesson Number 1: Show up at the Page
Three times each week it is the same effrayant feeling. Today it was no different. Lying there asleep in bed I gradually gained consciousness. My eyes were already open when I found myself gazing at my husband's back. There were his deep scars (post melanoma), there was his bent hair, or "pillow head", there was that poetic point at which the curve of his torso meets the curve of his hip.
It is the most delicious part of the day, those fleeting few seconds of quiet observation--before thought ticks in, dispersing the peaceful moment. And they are the most nerve-racking, those seconds that follow.... when apprehension arrives. I turn over and peer out the porte-fenêtre, as if by shifting the body a shift in perspective will follow.
The position of the morning light falling, just so, on the grape vines, this is my alarm clock. I know it is 6:30 a.m. But the question remains: Quel jour est-il?: Saturday?... Sunday? Around this time my husband's alarm chimes in, with a hint...
Then it hits me and there I feel it, beating at the walls of the soul's chamber! Butterflies begin to flap wildly and take flight. I am carried forth, with the papillons, to the following, undeniable conclusion: this is not a day of rest.... this is not a day of repos....
THIS IS STORY-WRITING DAY!!!!
The pressure is on! As a self-appointed écrivaine (when no one else is hiring, you've got to hire yourself!) with a self-appointed deadline (11 a.m. each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) there is the alarming realization that I now have 4 hours and 26 minutes to create une édition, one that will be automatically pulled from this blog's server and delivered to readers inboxes at around 10:59 a.m.!
This is where faith comes in. After the initial panic (What to write? What-to-write?!-What-to-write?!-What-to-write?!) there is nothing left to do but to work. The words will come....
Panic subsides as I grasp at a few scraps or impressions, letting them continue to bubble up to the surface of memory. But how will the broken bits and fleeting pieces add up to a meaningful story? Temptation comes haunting--the temptation to throw in le torchon and just give up. Çela ne vaut pas la peine!
That is when I am reminded that it is all beyond me; I need only to let go... and let the story set itself free. I am no more than the fingers through which the words will flow. That is my only job. Heaven knows.
(This story was written in 2011, when the blog went out 3 times each week....)
effrayant,e = frightening
la porte-fenêtre = French window
Quel jour est-il? = What day is it?
le papillon = butterfly (also, a fickle person)
le repos = rest
un écrivain, une écrivaine = a writer
une édition = (newsletter) edition
le torchon = (dish)towel
Çela ne vaut pas la peine! = It's just not worth it!
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The rocks on top of this cabanon help hold down the roof tiles when the Mistral wind blows!
Thank you for the time you've spent reading my column. If you have learned more than a little vocabulary here and find yourself looking forward to the next story, please know that ongoing support from readers like you helps me continue doing what I love most: sharing these missives from France. Your support is vivement apprécié! Donating via PayPal is fast and easy when you use the links below. Merci infiniment! Kristi