Sunday, June 21, 2009


For some reason, it's not as hard this time to wait to hear back from the AMD/JMC. I don't know why. Maybe because just in getting that chunk of my life out of my day, I feel like I've done something major? Who knows? I hardly ever think about it now. I don't check my email six times a day hoping to see a response from JMC. I mean, I DO, of course, but not with the obsessive fury from before. I hope that the agency takes me on and that this book will be the foot in the door I need to get my other stories out there.

Speaking of other stories. Talk about your doozies. I thought a collection of snapshots would be easier to write than an actual chunk-of-time memoir, but I was wrong, wrong, wrong. Mainly because there are so many damn holes. I guess I got in the habit of writing a linear progression and this snapshots thing is a little foreign to me. The way I see it, I have to tell a micro-story with a beginning, middle and end but it has to fit into a collection that has an overall story arc... I guess. This is all new to me. So, all I've been doing is sitting down and writing whatever comes to mind. I'm not editing myself. I feel like every day is NaNoWriMo or something. Sit down, write without thought and close the folder. Come back to it later and clean it up.

Another thing that's hard about this kind of writing is that though I can see images in my head, I can't place everything. I can see myself sitting somewhere and I can remember the conversation, but I can't see the room I'm in. I want to tell the story of the conversation, but I don't want to rob my reader of description of the tactile world. So, I find myself making up the room. Just deciding where I'm going to make the conversation take place. There, it's decided. And once I've done that, I can describe the room because I know it. It's a real room that really existed and there's a high probability that's where the said conversation took place, so I roll with it. It's a compromise. I'm compromising pinpoint accuracy for the sake of recounting the conversation. This way, both the reader and I win. They get to see the room and I get to tell the conversation.

Am I babbling? Sorry.

I'm finding it hard to have the same motivation as well. The story I just sent off was one that I feel the Heavens had a hand in telling. I feel like I was God's/Universe's pawn in that whole story. Got tricked into thinking I had some sort of agency, but I didn't really. I was destined to be a vessel both in the carrying/having of the baby and in the telling of the story. Like I carried two babies... the real one and the book itself. Whoa, that's deep. *snicker* I'm less motivated to tell the other stuff. Don't get me wrong, I think it's SUPER interesting stuff. And funny. It just doesn't have the same MISSION fueling it. Maybe if I had a clear go-ahead from the AMD/JMC it would be easier.

I haven't stopped writing it. I'm doing a lot of writing in my head (and you know, that's where most of the writing happens anyway) but don't feel terribly compelled to craft it onto paper just now. Maybe part of me IS waiting to hear back about the other book first.

Enough of that.

Okay, farmwise, things are really starting to get exciting. In the past week, I have found a handful of properties that make the PERFECT compromise. Remember how we thought we'd have to choose between land and house? Remember how we were prepared to live in a trailer so we could have more than 20 acres? WELLLLLL, this past week, I have found some properties for sale that have more than 20 acres (25-40) and that have homes bigger than 1500 square feet!!!! WITHIN OUR PRICE RANGE and in an area that seems to be a good compromise of hills and flat fields and woods. That's AWESOME. I'm just hoping that a few of these stay on the market long enough for me to see them in August.

I keep practicing. Every week, Sam comes home from the market and I put things by. This week it was strawberry-raspberry preserves, cherry preserves, red pasta sauce and medium salsa. I have peaches and apricots as well as more salsa ingredients waiting for me in the kitchen. We cooked up some of the pasta we made a few months ago (in the vegan era) and threw in some halal Moroccan meatballs with some of the homemade red sauce that I made LAST summer and the kids ate every last morsel. INCREDIBLE!!! And yesterday, I made another clafouti for the Father's/Mother's Day gathering at Sam's parents house and it was a hit. I was surprised how much they liked it.

I went to my first ever gay pride march on Saturday. I can't believe I've never been. And I heard about it by accident. Sam and I went out on a "date" Friday night (we got our neighbor's daughter to babysit and we went to dinner and a movie, YAY!) and while we were standing at the bus, we saw a flyer saying that the bus schedule would be messed up because of the gay pride "manifestation" (a word which usually means protest, but in this case it meant parade, lol). I wasn't sure I'd want to go all by myself, but Flavia and Gilles had plans and I didn't see any of my other buddies really wanting to come along (I mean, I'm not sure even Gilles would come along, but I know Flavia has a handful of gay friends and would have loved it). Not to mention that I was sick (I've caught a NEW stupid cold *eye roll*) and had a fever. Still, I decided at the last minute that I was going, friends or no... I figured it would be a great way to meet other people. So, I put my keys, phone and five euro into my pocket and walked the three blocks to the beginning of the march.

I heard the bass from a block away. I saw rainbow flags. Oh, and a drag queen. I knew I was getting close. LOL! But when I got there, I realized that I had worn civies to a gay parade. Everyone was dressed up, wrapped in rainbow flags, gay stickers all over their parts. I had nothin'. So, I bought a flag from a vendor. They were four euro and he didn't have change, so I paid five. For a good cause. I didn't have anything racy to wear, so I figured sticking my flag stick into my bra would have to do. I walked up to the front of the march and stood to people watch. A guy on a bull horn started talking about all the rights we have worked for and earned since the beginning of gay pride in the late sixties. The guy said something about it all starting when Judy Garland died. Then he talked about all the rights we still don't have in France. He said, "We are here thank those before us and to stand in for those who come after us. The gays, lesbians, bi's, transsexuals and trans-identities. We are here to represent France!" The crowd cheered, but my voice was not amongst the others....

Because I was crying.

Bawling like a baby. I had never felt more queer, more French, more American, more Lyonnaise, more proud so far in my life. I was swept away. It took awhile for the lump to disappear from my throat so I could yell along with the others. But I did yell. Lost my voice. When I'd exhaust an octave, I'd find a lower one and keep yelling.

The thing that surprised me the most was the people watching us. There were the typical Europeans, dancing along to the techno blaring from the floats--it's somehow in their blood... they hear a techno beat and they can't help it... old people too!--even little kids. There were the amused and curious. There were the rich and disapproving. But one time, when the parade stopped to restate our cause, there was a little old lady hanging out her window, waving. Her husband stood beside her and made a teddy bear dance to the techno. When that woman waved, the whole crowd cheered. I cried (of course, *eye roll*). There was only one real asshole and that was some chump who squirted water at us from his fifth floor window and then closed the shutters so we couldn't see who had done it.

As we walked down the rich street--the one where they sell the snooty chocolates... you remember?--I shook my ass a little harder. I pumped my arms, raised my fists, waved my flag. Richies leaned out their windows with blank expressions. For some reason, I felt very Nanny Nanny Boo Boo on that street. The float I was following had a bubble blower at the back of it and then every once in awhile the guy would hose us all down. The float also had about fifty of the Young and Beautiful girating against each other.

I saw 7-foot drag queens on 16-inch platforms. I saw half-naked, muscle-bound angels in silver thongs. I saw leather freaks with whips. I saw couples kissing. I saw gay couples carrying their kids on their shoulders. I saw whole families of straight supporters pushing strollers. I saw a girl that looked like Audrey Tautou (from Amelie) who made eyes at me and flirted, but I was too shy to talk to her *blushes*. I saw rainbow flags waved in front of ancient buildings. Drag queens standing in front of medieval churches. Foam canons in front of the Pope's basilica. My ears throbbed from the sound of thousands of whistles blowing. It made me think of Harvey Milk. I cried.

I had planned to leave the march early--when we got close to my apartment--but I was so swept away by the emotion and pride that I couldn't bring myself to leave. Even when we were crossing the Rhone and there were so many people dancing to the techno that the bridge bounced (and if you know how I feel about bridges.... *shudder*). Yet, I stayed until the end.

Sam even called to see if I was having fun. Asked if he could bring the kids down to see the parade. I said, "SURE!" He would have, too, had Lily not still been sleeping. He said he got to see the tail end of the parade crossing the bridge and it looked like a blast. He's never been sexier to me... The fact that he was happy to see ME HAPPY in celebration of the other half of me. Makes me well up just thinking about it.

It was awesome to be a part of the river of queers!!!! Though, I did feel things go back to normal as I stepped on the bus to come home. People stared at me with my rainbow flag sticking out of my bra. I pulled it out and discretely rolled it up. Not embarrassed, just discreet. As I walked to the building from the bus stop, flag in hand, I felt like "one of THOSE people."

Next year, I'm taking peeps with me. It's my goal to meet at least 20 gay locals. I'm taking them with me... AND I'M DRESSING UP!!!!!!

I went out with Flavia and Gilles on Thursday to celebrate Flavia's b-day (Friday). We found a new pub right up the road from the Smoking Dog that has 3.50 pintes!!! They only have like four beers on tap, but the important thing is they have Murphy's Stout!!! DELISH!!! Afterward, we went to the Laurencin and had all my faves. I walked home drunk and happy and actually SAID to Sam when I got home, "What if I want to stay in France? What if I want to live here forever?" He said, "I'll talk to you about this in the morning when you're sober." I don't remember saying it. LOL! I think sometimes, I just get happy about being here. About being able to walk home drunk and unmolested. About having organically grown stuff every Saturday. Of being able to buy organic stuff in the supermarket at a reasonable price.

And I think I'm beginning to understand the French concept of Joie de Vivre... This weekend was the Fete de la Musique all over France. That means that there were bands playing music non-stop all over France for the WHOLE weekend. There was one outside our building playing their music loudly all night long Saturday night. I fell asleep to super loud bass thumping at 11pm last night. Back home, I'd be all pissy and ready to call the city about noise ordinances. About how my kids couldn't sleep because of their stupid loud festival. I know I would do this because that's how I reacted to the music playing non stop at the Light Festival back in December. But something has changed in me. I looked around and saw that the French didn't mind the noise. That they all seemed to be like, "Hey, it's music. May not be MY kind of music, but this is the festival of music. Everyone deserves the right to celebrate music." No one seemed pissed. So, I decided not to mind either, and strangely enough, I felt joyous. It didn't keep my kids awake and I didn't grumble and moan as I feel asleep. I mean, I didn't get to go walking around and listening to the bands because I was so sick and utterly exhausted from having spent the morning at the in-laws' house, but I'll save that for next year.

Dad, have I told you how much I love you? Happy Father's Day (a day late). Far as I'm concerned, every day since we met has been a celebration of our knowing each other, so I don't feel bad about not telling you on the day that the government decided is your day. So there.

I worked out this week! I used my room downstairs. I did step aerobics, kick-boxing, ab work, yoga, pilates and rode my bike. Wednesday, Ryan and I even did a loop around the park (which is two and a half miles). I walked and he jogged beside me. But I only got in a couple of really good days of working out. I woke up Friday morning with a hangover (from going out with Flavia) and a new cold. Blah. I was hoping it would be completely gone by this morning, and it does seem a little better and easier to kick than the last one, but I still have a pretty bad headache from the sinus congestion. Still, I think that I'll be able to work on my step aerobics routine (without the step) up here in the apartment hallway (because I don't want to take Lolo down to the room until they get the elec fixed) without causing myself too much stress. I don't want to make the cold worse, so it'll probably be better to do it without the step. I can also do my ab work and butt busting exercises up here. I might even be able to take Lolo to the park for a quick walk, too (she has the cold too, though, so we'll see how she's feeling). Either way, though I've taken a pound or two off (which I'm sure I put back on after going out for beers on Thursday), overall, I feel optimistic about getting toned up. I can already tell a difference in my core after just one week. I mean, it's not like being at the Y everyday or anything but, *shrug*

Well, stuff needs cleaning, salsa need making, chapters need writing, and Lolo needs entertaining, so I'll sign off for now.


gkd said...

Yay! Happy Joelie! I hope you have many happy days in France, and many days of Sexy Sam :-)
I always get domestic and cook more when it's summer; the fresh fruits and veggies inspire me. I preserved the organic strawberries we got in our CSA box and some regular blueberries on Sunday night. Yummy yummy yummy. I'll probably eat it all on ice cream and in the yogurt I started making again, before summer is over, but I feel good having made something!

Joelie said...

GKD: Mmmmmmmmm!!!! BLUEBERRIES!!!!!