Processus: Janet Skeslien Charles, Parisian-based American author, offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at publishing a book.
etre rouge comme une tomate


Puzzled at which photo to put up today... I found this forerunner in Ramatuelle. Picture taken  last spring.

avant-coureur (ah vahn koor ur) adjective

    : forerunner

synonyme: précurseur (noun)

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

Next month this word journal will set out for—and near—its very dear ninth year! How to sum up one's thoughts about that? With the help of Doctor Seuss, bien sûr:

Oh, les endroits où tu courras!

As you may have surmised, translation is not always on my side. So let's keep le docteur's words intact: 

Oh, the places you'll go!  To this I would add, with glee and wee-stee-tee:

...and, oh, the people you will meet!


Take Lou, for example. He wrote to me back in 2006.

I've just been able to send an e-mail. I read your book, which I enjoy and get your word a day, which is helping me try and learn French, as I'm planning on spending a month next Sept. in the Provence area celebrating my 80th, hope to try your wine, I'm from Casa Grande, AZ., also a desert rat, much good luck to you and to your family, I'm sure, like most of your readers, you feel like family. Au revoir.

And now, three and some years later, at the age of 83, Lou finally came to visit me! He had mentioned wanting to help out with our wine harvest... and so it was that Lou became our most venerable vendangeur!

Lou has often sent encouraging words (you may have seen them in the comments box):

Happy birthday and holiday greetings from an old fan, enjoy your family news and pics, hope to get over one of these days and meet you all, My best to you and yours.

But there is nothing like hearing encouraging words en direct. I stood there on the front patio, listening to un homme d'un certain âge honor me for following and sharing this writing dream. Next, the man with grape stains from his shirt shoulders to his socks, turned and pointed to the horizon. His face sunburnt from harvesting, a bee sting beneath his eye, he said that I was blessed. My eyes traveled back from the skyline and, looking back at Lou, I could not help but feel so: blessed not for what I have, but for whom I have.

Lou's solo trip south (he first visited London) to gather grapes beneath the sizzling sun makes my imagination spin: will I dare to drive a car across a foreign country when I am the same age as he? Or will I remain a wet chicken?

I look at Lou and see what James Dean might have been, nearing ninety: a rebel runner in Time's race, not about to slow down. Never mind gravity.

Time and lines. I try to superimpose my own face on Lou's: eyes on eyes, nose on nose. Will I be as handsome... with a little chance and then some?

But beauty has nothing on bohemia and, like Lou, it is the unconventional life for which I'll strive at 80 or for as long as I'm alive.


(more photos below... keep scrolling!)

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Speaking of Doctor Seuss, check out Les Oeufs Verts au Jambon: The French Edition of Green Eggs and Ham

French Vocabulary

bien sûr = of course

le docteur = doctor

ouistiti = the word the French say for "cheese" when posing for a photo (pronounced wee-stee-tee)

le vendangeur (la vendangeuse) = grape picker, vintager
wet chicken 

en direct
= live

un homme d'un certain âge = a man of a certain age

wet chicken = la poule mouillée = a coward  



Lou with harvester Zayra. Ah là là!


  Exercises in French Phonics Exercises in French Phonics is... 
" a great book for learning French pronunciation"
"useful and practical"
"high quality material, good value for your money" --from Amazon customer reviews. Order your copy here.


Sweatshirt "Provence-Alpes-Cote D'azur


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.

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