I am going to finish the book. That’s what I tell everyone I’m here to do. And I am. I’m going to finish the book. I really, really want to finish the damn book. I do. And I will. After all, here I am in rural France– long, peaceful days with no other demands on my time. Nothing to do but hole up and write. But for some odd reason, the pages aren’t exactly piling up. It’s not that I’m not writing. In fact, I can’t stop writing. My brain is buzzing with things to write about. I’m tapping away on the keyboard late into the night like a demented Fred Astaire if he tapped on a keyboard instead of — but here’s the problem. The things that I want to write about are not the travails of the characters in my book.
Honestly, I’d rather be writing about radishes. The radishes at the Super U, for example. are a different shape to the ones at Safeway. Longer and more oval than round. I could go on at length about radishes — the French kind — and how good they taste with bread and Normandy butter. Well, what wouldn’t taste good with that pairing? And speaking of bread, what about the French baguette? Is it a cliche, that image of the long loaf being carried home from the boulangerie? Do the French secretly prefer Wonder bread? It doesn’t appear that they do. Everyone seems to carry baguettes: under the arm, sticking out of a shopping bag. One young woman couldn’t get hers home before she broke off a piece to eat. I did look around Super U for the French equivalent of Wonder bread–just curious, I have no desire for Wonder bread myself. I saw something square and sliced and wrapped in plastic, but I haven’t seen anyone carry such a loaf. It would probably be considered unpatriotic if they did. And do French men really wear berets? I decided that was probably a cliche until yesterday when I saw a man wearing a beret, cigarette between his teeth, riding a bicycle! A double cliche; triple if the cigarette had been a Gauloise. I couldn’t tell.
And then there are my French classes taught by Mme Chantal with her dyed to match outfits and imperious manner. I actually had to beg her (in English, unfortunately) to accept me into her class which is taught at the back of the Kitch Kafe. I promised to devote at least three hours a day to conjugating verbs. I could easily spend the same amount of time writing about Mme Chantal.
Meanwhile my characters are whining and clamoring for attention. What about us? Don’t we interest you anymore? You used to find us fascinating, what happened? Perhaps if I relocated them to the Dordogne, or what if the boy Margaret met was French instead of . . .
Okay, okay, I hear you . . .