"I don't care if I am an artist or not, what worries me is writing good stories. Besides, when I start taking myself for an artist - which can happen to me in a moment of madness - I start to write any which way and I have to throw everything in the trash the next day. I am a craftsman, not an artist." -Harlan Coben. French translation and sound file below.
Today's Word: la poubelle
: trash can, garbage can, bin
Sound file: hear Jean-Marc read the following French:
Je me fiche d'être ou non un artiste, ce qui me préoccupe, c'est d'écrire de bonnes histoires. D'ailleurs, quand je commence à me prendre pour un artiste - ce qui peut m'arriver dans un moment d'égarement -, je me mets à écrire n'importe comment et il faut tout jeter à la poubelle le lendemain. Je suis un artisan, pas un artiste. -Harlan Coben
A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE by Kristi Espinasse
"How God handles the competition: A funny message from The Almighty"
When I saw Mom heading to her butterfly chair, our golden retriever Smokey trailing behind her, I hurried outside to catch up with the colorful duo. They were headed over to the pepper tree, which also shades our little pond. Mom wore her purple muumuu--what a find at the friperie!--and Smokey sported a feathery train: a wake of turtledoves dragging along behind him, as jittery as a bride.
"Mom," I said, hurrying over. "The latest episode of Charles Stanley was great! It's on listening to God."
As Mom tossed pockets full of seeds to her precious birds, I briefed her on the various ways to hear the Almighty, Le Tout Puissant (through His Word, through circumstances, through prayer, through people...) then shared highlights from the half-hour sermon, including the pastor's recipe for prayer, as he suggested here:
"Don't start by asking for everything you want. Start by listening. Say this simple prayer:
Heavenly Father, I need to listen to you….I'm gonna be quiet and I just want you to speak to my heart, and help me to listen carefully so that I can do exactly what you want me to do."
"Mom! I got down on my knees and began to listen. I tuned in, straining to hear any words at all from Above. I heard a lot of distracting thoughts but began to visualize my soul as a boat, a craft moving towards the Message on the horizon. I began to see any distracting thoughts as flotsam.
"Do you know what flotsam is?" Mom interrupted.
Of course I knew what flotsam was! Was this not MY visualization?
Mom proceeded to point out the pepper blossoms floating on the surface of the pond beside us: "Flotsam!" Mom shared.
I nodded patiently, eager to get on with my story. "So Mom, listen. I knelt there like that in silent prayer, wading through the flotsam, heading toward the Almighty on the horizon, the closer I got the more I could hear the message--until it was loud and clear! Do you want to know what I heard?"
"Yes. Tell me!" Mom was on the edge of her papillon chair.
"LISTEN TO YOUR MOM."
Mom lit up. "Really?" she said, emptying the birdseed from her purple muumuu pockets in order to give me her undivided attention. As the turtle doves and Smokey settled at our feet, some eating, others sleeping, I told Jules the rest of the story, as I am telling it to you now, dear reader....
"Mom, after I heard the message, I headed downstairs to make your favorite cake. Passing by the end table, I noticed a carte de visite. A pink business card. It read masseur kinésithérapeute."
My brain imputed the data: Calling card...masseuse....
I knew better than to get all paranoid. After all, it wasn't as if this was a massage therapist. It looks like she's a kind of physical therapist, I reassured myself. She's working on Jean-Marc's injured knee. Still, I kept noticing the pretty pink paper, the elegant typography, her English (??) name, and my thoughts (Why the need for a card when there's internet?). Internet... Suddenly I was tempted to google her.
This suspicious circumstance was interrupted by a message from The Above:
"DON'T GOOGLE HER!"
Just as I stood wondering if this was truly Providence guiding me (the pastor said God speaks through scripture, prayer, and circumstances...), The Almighty radioed in again, this time with instructions!:
"THROW IT IN THE GARBAGE!"
Jette-le dans la poubelle? This felt sort of wrong. Who am I to destroy my husband's papers? Besides, what if he asks about the card's whereabouts? (Would he? Would he dare!)
I soldiered on past the card, only to hurry back and pick it up again, and there I heard Le Tout Puissant once more:
"THROW IT IN THE GARBAGE!"
I paused a brief moment when another thought, this time my own, surfaced: Who am I not to listen to the Almighty? And without the slightest feeling of guilt or wrongdoing, I chucked it! Je l'ai balancé! How easy it is to eliminate the competition (real or imagined...) when you listen to Le Tout Puissant, God Almighty!
Post note: After I finished sharing the story with Mom, who was now laughing, and I along with her, I heard a final command:
"Write that story!" It was Mom guiding me this time. And I listened to her!
I hope my husband has as much fun reading today's post as I had writing it ;-) Happy 26th anniversary to us tomorrow, July 4th.Photo taken on our wedding day, July 4, 1994. Our church ceremony (photo here) was two months later, in September.
la friperie = thrift store
la carte de visite = business card, calling card
masseur kinésithérapeute = physiotherapist
je l'ai balancé = I chucked it, tossed it
la poubelle = garbage can
cheri = dear
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