La mise-en-scène: doesn't this scene look staged? Walking through the villages of France sometimes makes you feel as if you've stepped back in time, to post war Europe... until you see the modern cars at the end of the lane. Photo taken two weeks ago, in the town of Camaret.

I am excited to announce our first debate here at French Word-A-Day... and that's about as French as this edition will get! Read on, in today's story.

la mise-en-scène (meez-on-sen) noun, feminine

   : the "putting on stage", stage setting

Six years ago, almost to the day, I learned a life-changing concept: one that returns to me this morning, as a flood of emotions float upward to the underbelly of my skin, electrifying the surface. When God created sensitivity, he gave an extra dose of it to me! Strike a line through that last sentence or, rather, that last word--for I am not alone: artists, writers, musicians, plumbers, preachers--and even highfalutin Frenchmen, can feel the same way and, I suspect, do.

I dread this space that I am in, but recognize it as the engine behind the words that sometimes flow out of the fingertips, onto a blank screen: oh, the ills of Inspiration! Hold on a minute... isn't that the ego talking? He who likes to convince us that it is the Self's HARD WORK--and pain!--that bring forth art. What a crock!

As thoughts continue to dart back-n-forth, I raise my arm to catch one of them, watching in amazement as it almost drives a hole (the sheer force of faith, landing) through my tattered catcher's glove. I look into my glove, beyond the steam, and read the message:

"One can change her mind. P.S.: Lighten up a bit!"

I am reminded to pull that chain in my brain and so flush out a rush of ravaging thoughts, such as this one that just crept in: "Easier said than done." The minute I pull that chain, reflux happens; determined, I pull the chain again (sort of off topic, but if you say that last bit--pull the chain again--with an English accent, it kind of rhymes... at least in *my* mind. Whatever.) And there, dear reader, goes the mind: Hither and thither, but whither? Whither???

Back to the "life-changing concept", which the subject in today's photo reminds me of: "la mise-en-scène". I thought this might make a good topic for debate. One thing I struggle with is remembering my "part" in this film that is Life. So here's a question for you:

If life is a stage, are you the director or the actor? Which part makes you feel more at peace? Tell us your answer in the comments box.

Story Archives
Care to read another essay? I posted this one "The Car Accident: or How to Meet Your French Neighbor" over at Twitter and Facebook, yesterday.

All photos taken with this camera.

In the town of Camaret there are not cabarets, but the shutters close their eyes and blush anyway.

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For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety