The muguet tradition in France: Lily of the Valley sold on French street corners on May 1st


Words_brincklow_3Words in a French Life at the Barnes and Noble in Clearwater, Florida! 'Merci' to Kim and Rick Brincklow for this photo.

Also in books:
Reading Anna Gavalda's story collection, I Wish Someone Were Waiting for Me Somewhere, is a bit like choosing the mini-éclair over its full-size counterpart--while the smaller size makes each morsel that much more
satisfying, you can't help but wish for just one more bite

la mercatique (mair-ka-teek) noun, feminine

...Hollywood...sûrement l'outil mercatique le plus efficace.
...Hollywood...surely the most efficient marketing tool.
--Tristan Valmour

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

Max is charging toward the porte-fenêtre* of my home office, barefoot and dressed in his ski underwear--the 'coolest,' high-techest ensemble of clothing he owns.

"Max! Put on some shorts. It's hot out!" I say, as he bursts in the door. My son ignores me and the beaming smile on his face tells me not to protest, but to "Écoute bien! Listen closely!" because he has something revolutionary to say:

"Mommy, I can tell my friends about your book!" he shouts, in a "Why haven't I thought of this before?" tone.
"How thoughtful, Max. Thanks, but don't worry about it," I say, unsure if ten-year-old soccer-playing, rap-écouting* Francophones are included in my target mar-shay.*

"I've got fifty-three contacts in my address book..." he announces.
"Fifty-three contacts!" My ears perk up and before I know it my hands are searching for a photo to attach to his proposed e-mailing but Max is half-way out the door.
"Don't forget to tell them to go to Amazon pwahn efer!"* I shout.

With that, my ten-year-old high-tails it back to the family computer and goes to work.

An hour later he returns, beaming brighter than before.
"Mommy! I have a surprise for you."
We log into his e-mail account and read the response to his courriel* campaign. The French kids find the book news intéressantes.* They like the book's cover ("...avec la dame et sa bicyclette dans le pré," with the lady and her bike in the meadow--as one boy muses) and want to know where they can get a copy.

That evening, Max tells me to be careful as I climb up onto the wobbly chair beside his bed to reach him in the bunk above for a tucking-in.
"Mommy, how did the radio interviews go?"
"Just fine," I say, gripping the bed rail. "I wasn't so scared after all."
"Je suis fier de toi! I am proud of you!" he says, and his sparkling eyes prove his point. As my heart turns to fondue, I think about my son's efforts, past* and present, to help me with my writing--whether it be story suggestions, grammar corrections or sales and mercatique* tips.

"Max," I say. "What did you write to your friends in the email you sent?"
I told them they are invited to my house on Wednesday to see my mom's new book!
"All fifty-three friends? Wednesday?! That's tomorrow!"

The words "First author event on French soil!" hit me. I consider my dear audience of ten-year-old French rappers/sports enthusiasts and the question is, naturally, "What am I going to wear?" Taking a hint from the get-up Max had on today, I'll opt for the coolest, high-techest ensemble I can throw together (steering clear of ski underwear). Perhaps Jean-Marc will loan me his cycling unitard? After all, I've got a son's pride to live up to.

la porte-fenêtre (f) = French window/door; écouting (écouter = to listen to) = Franglais/Frenglish for "listening"; mar-shay (pronunciation for "marché, n.m.) = market; pwahn efer (pronunciation for "point fr") = dot fr (dot com); le courriel (for "courrier électronique" n.m.) = e-mail; interessant(e) = interesting; past: read about Max's past efforts to help with my writing in the chapter "Faute" ("Mistake") page 94; la mercatique (f) = marketing

Listen: hear Jean-Marc pronounce the French word for marketing, 'mercatique': Download mercatique2.wav 


Passion of joan of arc Last night I watched, and was mesmerized byThe Passion of Joan of Arc (a silent film that was lost (to a fire) until a copy of the film was miraculously found -- in the janitor's office of a Norwegian mental institution). Joan of Arc and Maria Falconetti are two people I will line up to meet in Heaven. Read the reviews, here. Bilingual subtitles (to the screen images of this silent film) make this a great way to learn French!

France Magazine subscription

Easy French Reader: A fun and easy new way to quickly acquire or enhance basic reading skills

Refreshing mosterizing mist: vine therapy by Caudalie

A Message from KristiOngoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and publishing this free language journal each week. If you find joy or value in these stories and would like to keep this site going, donating today will help so much. Thank you for being a part of this community and helping me to maintain this site and its newsletter.

Ways to contribute:
1.Zelle®, The best way to donate and there are no transaction fees. Zelle to [email protected]

2.Paypal or credit card
Or purchase my book for a friend and so help them discover this free weekly journal.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety