Chaise (c) Kristin Espinasse

Pull up a chaise and let me tell you a little about this newsletter's beginnings... (photo taken in Nyons.)

avant-propos (ahvahn pro poh) noun, masculine

: foreword (to a book or a story)


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Sound file and Example sentence: listen to Kristin pronounce these French words:Download MP3 or Download Wav

Aujourd'hui, lisez un avant-propos de cette gazette.
Today, read a foreword to this gazette.


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

After the illico post, I received this request from Anne, who writes:

I am a French teacher "et bien sûr, j'adore French Word-a-Day!" It occurred to me today, as I was reading and enjoying your lovely photos of your daughter and your dogs, that I should require my students to read French Word-a-Day! I think they would love it, too. Any chance, that before September, you could make one of your postings an introduction to you, your family, your occupation, your vineyards - for those who may just be joining? (I think us old-timers would enjoy it, also!)

Thank you, Anne, for this request. I have been meaning to update the "about" page and this is a wonderful invitation to begin....

You mentioned a personal introduction... 
My name is Kristin and I have written this word journal since October 2002—the year I gave up the self-defeating folie of contacting magazine editors, daily, with writing proposals or queries. It took one hundred seventy-seven rejections (façon de parler...) before I had an inspiration: maybe this was the wrong path? Or maybe editors are the wrong audience for my writing?

Making faces at Smokey, trying to get him to smile for the camera.
Stepping off the beaten track for a mindful minute, I determined what it was I loved in life: France (I had managed to graduate with a degree in French... only I did not know what to do with it) and writing (the profession I had secretly wished to pursue, but reasoned that only "real writers" were permitted into that area).

So much for reasoning. I set out on a new path. My dog-eared copy of Writer's Market collected a thick layer of dust as my own guided-by-the-gut gazette—and the French words inside of it—began to be polished via a daily word journal titled "French Word-A-Day." Inside, I posted a French word and a story to illustrate the word (and in so doing re-ignited a writing dream....).

Since that day, I have not veered from this voie--a freer path. And though liberty comes with its own constraints (revelations! revelations!), there is nothing like being able to wake up in the morning and snap up the Moroccan jingle bells from one's doorknob—and wear them around one's waist if one so fancies.



Anne, you asked me to talk a little about my family and our activities...

We moved to this grape farm in the Vaucluse three years ago, when our son Max was 12, our daughter Jackie, just 9, and Braise-The-Dog only 1 (her own son "Smokey "R" Dokey, in now the same age!).

In 2006 my husband, Jean-Marc, realized his dream: to have his own grapevines and to make his own wine!

JME in heaven
Thank you to "Wendy and Alan in Sicily" for this photo!

At the end of the month we will "attack" our 4th harvest. This year should be a little less chaotic, as the home improvements are finished (we now have doors and windows, whereas the first season we went without...). And whereas last year's harvest corresponded with the birth of sextuplets (on the part of Braise-The-Dog), this year ought to be a cake walk or une marche du gâteau. Well, we can always hope so.

Voilà for an avant-propos for Anne, who had actually asked for an introduction... a word that I have just checked in my dictionary:

introduction: the act of beginning something new

What a wonderful word: introduction!  I will try to address this one with each post: a new beginning. Thank you for reading! To share this word journal with your students (or friends or family), click here to access the sign-up form. Subscriptions are free.

Le Coin Commentaires
Questions, corrections, and comments are most welcome. Thank you for using the comments box, click here.

French Vocabulary
la folie = madness

la façon de parler = manner of speaking

la voie = way, road

voilà! = there you have it!


A Day in a Dog's Life by Smokey "R" Dokey

Smokey says: I love cake! And, thanks to surgery and bees, I've had my fill of comfort food lately. What's more, with the harvest around the corner, Gramma K  is experimenting in the kitchen! I hear her muttering something about "Perfection isn't gonna stop me now!" Stay tuned for some recipes... meantime, need any kitchen supplies? Remember, when you buy an item at Amazon, using the following links, your purchase helps support this French word journal.

Copper bowl
Copper mixing bowl. Mauviel, a French family business established in 1830 and located in the Normandy town of Villedieu-les-Poeles, is the foremost manufacturer of professional copper cookware in the world today. Order here.

Mixing bowl
Creuset mixing bowl.

<= Gramma K has big eyes for this one...


We've got lots more stories, words, and photos for you. A très bientôt!

A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check (to this new address)
2. Paypal or credit card
3. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety