I received this quote as an early birthday present from Jules (my mother). I hope your inner (or outer) artist will enjoy it to.
J'ai vu un ange dans le marbre et j'ai ciselé jusqu'à l'en libérer.
I saw the angel in the marble and I carved until I set him free. --Michelangelo
Disclaimer: the following newsletter -- gazette, vignette, billet -- whatever it is that you sometimes, often kindly, call it... may not be coherent, elegant, or even relevant. It may not follow the rules of style, it may not flow, it may not rhyme or even count its toes (if indeed words on paper are wont to count those
I know. A period and "end parenthesis" are missing from that last paragraph (she says, rolling up her sleeves for this renegade essay, a charivari* of worn-out words that just won't die). Welcome to a writer's life. Writing is (when it is not) a disease, one that pesters, pokes, and brings on chills. One that would ultimately have its victim gallivanting around in men's heels (anything for a story).
(Pausing now, to sip a third cup of coffee and to click open an incoming email from Anu Garg.* The subject line reads "A.Word.A.Day--jabberwocky" ("meaningless speech or writing"), which brings me back to our rip-roaring senseless essay, a slapped-together story minus congruity, lucidity and, most of all apology.
Did I mention that tomorrow I turn 40?
"Forty used to be OLD!" my grandmother tells me, as I lie in bed, portable phone to my ear, amazed at how Utah might as well be one block away. My grandmother's voice makes its way over the Land of the Free, the ocean, across France, and over to me...
"OLD!" my 89-year-old grandmother's words echo. I pull the receiver away from my ear, not sure whether to be inspired or hot-wired by her comment. She's just "stirring the pit," my mom would point out. (Only Mom uses another word for "pit" -- one beginning with an "s" and rhyming with "hit".)
And while my grandmother's words stir me, on this, the eve of turning forty -- hot-wired, or inspired, her message is now clear to see: Forget about gravity and what "used to be" -- these matter little in light of eternity.
* * *
Last month my sh(p)it-stirring grandmother lost some of her feist (not a real word, but remember THIS is a renegade "birthday essay" heist). She learned that she is eligible for hospice. For once, between puffs from an oxygen tank, she admitted that she was afraid: hospice seems to her like a "full stop".
I've a mind to tell my grand-mère* to rip out the punctuation To forget about "full stop" To ignore condemning commas To let the modifiers dangle ... whatever those are...
References: le charivari (m) = hullabaloo; Anu Garg = author, wordsmith; la grand-mère (f) = grandmother
More about my grand-mère in this book "Words in A French Life"
In Film: Paris Je T'aime: Stories of Love. From the City of Love
:: Audio File ::
Listen to today's word and quote:
Le Petit Larousse Illustre 2007: an exceptional French dictionary!
Michel Thomas Speak French For Beginners: 10-CD Beginner's Program
Top 10 Ways to Improve Your Spoken French
Roger & Gallet Lavande/Lavender Perfumed Soaps
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