January 20

I’m back!  Just walked in the door and haven’t even taken my shoes off- soon as I take them off there will be a million other things to do- laundry, dinner, grading, hanging up the toilet paper holder (that we finally bought after six months), hanging up the bathroom mirror (same thing), blowing my nose, checking my email, turning off the hallway light, reading today’s mail, turning on the heat- soon as I start doing all that, writing time will vanish, and next I know the morning alarm clock will be ringing again.  I’m cold, and my feet are tired, but I can’t stand the idea of letting another day get away.

There’s a little orange notebook that sits on my bedside table.  “Il faut vivre pour écrire, et non pas écrire pour vivre,” it says in bold letters.  I’ll translate this as: “One must live in order to write, not write in order to live.”  Let’s just say I’ve been taking 19th century French writer Jules Renard’s advice a little too seriously lately.  Better to blame it on that than get into the holiday weather (and the cancelled planes that go with it), the week of no phone (or Internet), the new (painful) French word I most recently learned- lombalgie, or lumbago in English- more or less, lower back pain that gets you an arrêt de travail (a doctor’s note).  Yes, best to blame it on that advice, one of the reasons I “live” in France in the first place: the enjoyable moments you can have despite the cold dark days and the time that just keeps getting away from you, the savoir vivre that permeates through the air and attaches itself to us, despite all.  In short, 2010 has been off to a crazy and busy, but oddly agreeable start- full of “living” and all that word means.

Come to think about it, I don’t think the bathroom’s going to get in order tonight.  It’s already past seven- and it’s Saint Sébastien Day here in France- yes, I live in a country where my husband (like many people) has his own holiday- all the more reason to “live” some more and take a break from all those things we’re “supposed” to be doing.

Bonne fête (and Happy New Year, by the way).

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