Atterrissage: Made it to The Mile-High City! Winetastng today
How to say "crutches" in French...

Se donner de la peine pour faire quelque chose

Fennel field (c) Kristin Espinasse
Cabanon and field of fennel near the town of Orange.

se donner de la peine pour faire quelque chose

     : to go to a lot of trouble to do something

Click here to listen to the following sentence in French

Il s'est donné beaucoup de peine pour réussir.
He went to a lot of trouble to succeed. 



by Kristin Espinasse

Writing Lesson Number 1: Show up at the Page

Three times each week it is the same effrayant feeling. Today it was no different. Lying there asleep in bed I gradually gained consciousness. My eyes were already open when I found myself gazing at my husband's back. There were his deep scars (post melanoma), there was his bent hair, or "pillow head", there was that poetic point at which the curve of his torso meets the curve of his hip.

It is the most delicious part of the day, those fleeting few seconds of quiet observation--before thought ticks in, dispersing the peaceful moment. And they are the most nerve-racking, those seconds that follow.... when apprehension arrives. I turn over and peer out the porte-fenêtre, as if by shifting the body a shift in perspective will follow.

The position of the morning light falling, just so, on the grape vines, this is my alarm clock. I know it is 6:30 a.m. But the question remains: Quel jour est-il?: Saturday?... Sunday? Around this time my husband's alarm chimes in, with a hint... 

Then it hits me and there I feel it, beating at the walls of the soul's chamber! Butterflies begin to flap wildly and take flight. I am carried forth, with the papillons, to the following, undeniable conclusion: this is not a day of rest.... this is not a day of repos....


The pressure is on! As a self-appointed écrivaine (when no one else is hiring, you've got to hire yourself!) with a self-appointed deadline (11 a.m. each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday)  there is the alarming realization that I now have 4 hours and 26 minutes to create une édition, one that will be automatically pulled from this blog's server and delivered to readers inboxes at around 10:59 a.m.! 

This is where faith comes in. After the initial panic (What to write? What-to-write?!-What-to-write?!-What-to-write?!) there is nothing left to do but to work. The words will come....
Panic subsides as I grasp at a few scraps or impressions, letting them continue to bubble up to the surface of memory. But how will the broken bits and fleeting pieces add up to a meaningful story? Temptation comes haunting--the temptation to throw in le torchon and just give up. Çela ne vaut pas la peine! 

That is when I am reminded that it is all beyond me; I need only to let go... and let the story set itself free. I am no more than the fingers through which the words will flow. That is my only job. Heaven knows.

(This story was written in 2011, when the blog went out 3 times each week....)


effrayant,e = frightening

la porte-fenêtre = French window

Quel jour est-il? = What day is it?

le papillon = butterfly (also, a fickle person)

le repos = rest

un écrivain, une écrivaine = a writer

une édition = (newsletter) edition

le torchon = (dish)towel

Çela ne vaut pas la peine! = It's just not worth it! 

Thank you for your book support! Just click on the book cover below. Your purchase helps keep these words and stories going out.

Blossoming in provence

The next time you are asked to conjure up a peaceful image... try this one! Do you see the sunflowers in the far right corner? 

The rocks on top of this cabanon help hold down the roof tiles when the Mistral wind blows!

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.

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


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James Bourhill

I can see that you write your best at times like this.


Kristi - I totally get that feeling and how you have to talk to yourself....As I climb up the stairs to school each morning, after 26 years of teaching French, I pray to God for strength and presence of mind to 'do it again' ...and He always comes through.


Eileen deCamp

Hi Kristi,

I must have missed a previous post about JM's melanoma. I hope he is doing OK. Your trip to Colorado looked fun and a nice change of pace I bet! Thanks again for sharing your writing and beautiful photos! Say "coucou" to Jules!

Kristin Espinasse

Hi Eileen, JM had the melanoma removed a long time ago, in 96. I will say hi to Jules when we return in a few weeks. Thanks.💛


beautiful writing, merci


Our dear Kristi,
Heaven does surely know how the beautiful words flow from your fingers,and most especially,of the true gift God has blessed you with.
Your fortunate readers are blessed,too,for the gift of sharing your stories and your life.
Happy birthday,dear Kristi!a day early but filled with blessings,love,and thanks for always filling us with inspiration.
Natalia . xo


Très belle.


Bonjour, Kristi, I am a fan of your perseverance; it inspires me to set deadlines for myself instead of avoiding the challenge. Merci beaucoup!

Stacy - Sweet Life Farm

Dear Kristi,

You continue to amaze and inspire me. Is this your current method for writing each post? To allow the words to flow through you with a deadline close at hand?

I hope you are thoroughly enjoying your time visiting friends and family here in the U.S. I'm enjoying the photos you've posted on Instagram and must say you look positively beautiful!

xoxo, Stacy

Marianne Rankin

I personally do not do anything well if I am panicking, which I usually am if I find that I'm running out of time. Some folks say they work better under pressure, but I am not one of them. Indeed, I can find it hard to sleep if I know that I am putting things off till the morning which I really ought to do at night, to be sure they get done . . .

All this to suggest that when feasible, Kristi, you could write one or two stories ahead of time to have on hand, so as not to be scrambling and feeling rushed and alarmed because a deadline is looming. If inspiration doesn't strike but the clock keeps ticking, you would have a tale or two in reserve.

Please bear in mind that we are always glad to hear from you, but we don't take your writing for granted. Please don't feel you have to meet some artificial deadline or quota. If posts from you are a bit unpredictable, that is okay. We are happy to have them whenever they appear, but wouldn't want you to suffer because of having to write them, feeling them a burden until finished.

So - thanks again for your blog, and for whatever you share with us on a given day.

Kristin Espinasse

Marianne, Thank you for your thoughtful words. This post was written a few years ago and, lately, I enjoy beginning a post a few days early and having the time to let the story develop. I appreciate and am touched by your encouragement on writing. 💛🌞

Chris Allin

Dear Kristi,

No matter how you arrive at your finished product, your words seem to flow thoughtfully from your fingers through the keyboard, resulting in a beautifully composed offering to your readers. Sometimes serious, sometimes humorous, always realistic, my favorites are the poignant messages, those with a twist at the end which touch the heart or bring a tear. You have a great gift and we, your readers, are so lucky to be be recipients of that gift...whenever and however it comes to us.
Thank you...♥️

Kristin Espinasse

Thank you, chère Chris. Your message touches me deeply as I read it here in San Francisco, a tear in my eye from readers like you who have supported my writing and cheered me on over the years. 💛

Catherine Berry (But you are in France, Madame)

It is always fascinating to hear how other writers approach their writing - and to know that it is not always with serenity is encouraging! Rest assured, none of your pre-work apprehension comes across.

Jan Hersh

Love your blog, your stories, your pointe de vue!

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