France

All posts tagged France

On longing to be trendy.

Published February 25, 2013 by mandileighbean

“The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story and writes another.”

– James Matthew Barrie

This week’s way to blast my blubber was to use time wisely; if there are only 30 minutes free in your daily schedule, use it to pack a nutritious lunch and to closely watch what you eat, rather than try to squeeze in a workout. I usually stick to that rule, but this week, I worked harder to make sure I did not go over my daily calorie limit. As a result, I lost three pounds this week. My confidence is bolstered and my determination has more than doubled. So please ignore the fact that I am currently contradictorily snacking on some Funyuns.

My colleague, Jill Ocone, is such an inspiration. She is truly following her passion, regardless of cost. She stopped living to work, stopped being consumed by work at home. There is no reason why I cannot do the same.

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Sometimes, when I am running in the morning, I try very, very hard to find the moon in the sky. I make myself dizzy by searching in spinning circles, neck bent uncomfortably backwards, and though there are plenty of stars to go around, I cannot find the moon.

Sometimes, when I am running in the morning, it is so frigid that my iPod’s battery is completely drained after about 20 minutes. I do not usually get rattled on my morning walk and jog, but with no contemporary music to drown them out, I become aware of the creepiest sounds. The wind makes the branches of the trees creak and groan. A few American flags snap in wavelengths. A dry, crunchy leaf scuttles across the barren pavement – the perfect horror movie soundtrack and every now and again, I snap my neck this way and that in a futile attempt to determine the cause of some noisy disturbance in the blackness around me. Was the snapping of a twig merely evidence of movement by some furry, cuddly woodland creature, or something more sinister, if, in fact, it even existed at all?

I think I need to indulge in writing some fan fiction again; it can inspire something of literary merit. Many borrow characters and plot lines and images to create a foundation for something new. Currently, I am thinking of “True Blood;” I know vampires are passé, but I keep having this recurring image of a beautiful but battered young woman with a bruised and broken body and beaten face. She is sitting in the front pew of an old and tiny church, at the end. She has been crying, sitting and staring straight ahead with dead, vacant eyes for presumably hours. Then, a devastatingly handsome man – or monster? Or a creature? – suddenly appears, standing in the carpeted aisle beside her. He looks concerned and seems genuine, but her response is icy cold: “You don’t belong here.”
It’s not like her to be cruel, especially not to him, so he deflects her verbal barb with an easy smile and explains, as he has done many times before, that vampires not being able to enter churches in actually a myth, and he’s about to begin a long-winded explanation when she cuts him off.
Misunderstood, she nearly snarls to clarify that she knows damn well that he can be there, but she does not want him there. She has wounded him and it shows all over his face.
“I’m not the one who beat the shit out of you. Why are you so pissed at me?” Though her body language is coming through loud and clear that she wants to be left the fuck alone, he sits beside her. Begrudgingly, she moves for him.
And I want her to unravel – tell him EVERYTHING. Her boyfriend, a bartender who is slowly but surely developing a drinking problem, got loaded and hit her. It has never happened before and she believes her boyfriend is really and truly sorry, but everything is different now and that is sad and scary. She was trying to help him, to be loving and supportive and all the good things, but she still got rocked. In her moment of weakness, she is bitter and vengeful and hateful. It is unlike her, and it makes him nervous. He is not easily rattled and his change in demeanor is not lost on her, though her demeanor is changing as well. She asks him if he’s all right, seamlessly slipping back into old habits and tired behavior.
He laughs without much humor and says that he’s fine, that she shouldn’t give a damn if he’s fine or not, and that maybe she should be more vicious and guarded, like it might not be such a bad thing. She nods and wipes her eyes. Silence falls over them and he feels as if he needs to break it, so he asks her how long she’s been there.
She shrugs and says nothing.
He suggests they leave and go somewhere else.
“Why?”
“Because, honestly, you’re just sitting and stewing in your misery and that solves nothing- it only begets more misery.”
“What could we do?”
It’s an innocent question, but the answers that immediately spring to his mind are not. He takes a second to compose himself because he doesn’t want to scare her; she is good and pure and that is what he likes – loves? – about her. He has to protect it; he has to keep it safe. “Where have you always wanted to go, but have never been?” “France,” she answers without hesitation, like she’s simply been waiting to be asked that very question.

“… if you’d only asked me.”

“If I don’t ask you, would you ever think of asking me?”

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I am always surprised (whether it is pleasant or not has yet to be determined) by which blog posts garner the most attention and end up receiving the largest amount of views. The last entry I posted was personal and somewhat pessimistic, kind of made me seem shallow and pitiful, and has more views than the short story I wrote. A wonderfully caring colleague sent me a Facebook message absolutely dripping with sympathy and a classmate whom I have not seen nor spoken to in years, left an encouraging, empathetic and appreciated comment on my blog. These things surprise me.

I guess it’s like that part in the movie “The Breakfast Club,” where Basket Case Allison dumps all her baggage – literally and metaphorically – on the couch, thereby inviting everyone into her problems. So it’s unreasonable then for her to be angry when people comment, offer advice, and so on and so forth. It’s just that I honestly was not looking for pity, sympathy, or attention – I was just purging thoughts, just writing. It is a fine line between my private self and public self and balancing how I see myself against how others do. I know I shouldn’t care, but I do and that’s how I am, take it or leave it.

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I have a deplorable habit of being interested in men whom I cannot have – the distance keeps me safe from rejection, and it keeps me romantically tragic.

I need to start reading Stephen King again.

When it’s rainy, I want to stay in my bed, curled beneath the covers.

The roses in my classroom are dying.

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Why am I always so negative?

A radio station contacted me back! It is run by a high school in Atlantic City. It will most likely have an incredibly small audience, but it will be more of an audience than I have now.

My second royalty check came for the month of December: $23. 22; one print book and nine Ebooks.

The Manchester Branch of the Ocean County Library forwarded my information to the larger – and frankly, better – Toms River branch. I am hopeful.

Yesterday, I ventured to Brooklyn with a friend to attend a bridal shower. It was wonderfully trendy and beautifully artsy. The music completed the atmosphere perfectly and I never wanted to leave. I made plans to travel to Paris, fell in love with love all over again, and yearned to be more creative and artsy in everything I do. It was an awesome shower.

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On stereotypes and skiing.

Published July 21, 2012 by mandileighbean

To be honest, I almost HATED this prompt.  It did not appeal to me by any sretch of the imagination.  I have never been skiing, have never left the continental United States, and therefore, I had no real basis for which to compose interesting, let alone entertaining, fiction.  Forgive me.  I have relied on stereotypes and have only laid a thin foundation of any character development.  There is not plot, either.  I’d advise you to enjoy the piece, but I’d feel like a sarcastic jerk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PROMPT: Two skiers, one from America and one from France, get stuck together on a ski lift in the Swiss Alps.

PIECE: This was Bernadette’s first time leaving the United States.  She decided that after the messy divorce with Dan, but before what was to be a drawn out and ugly custody battle, she’d take a much deserved break.  Their only child, a beautiful boy named Nicholas, was with her mother and her father for the week, and would be with Dan the following week.  It was not an ideal situation – far from it, actually – but regardless of classification, Bernadette needed a break.  She was at the absolute limit of her mental and emotional abilities.  Nicholas needed someone stronger than that, so really, this vacation was a time to get her head straight and lace up her ass-kicking boots.  She would return home refreshed, renewed and ready for whatever was needed to be handled.

Bernadette closed her eyes and was quietly drifting in a manufactured kind of stillness, and did not notice the man seat himself beside her on the lift.  Jacques eyed the woman beside him from the sides of his dark eyes, from the intimate corners with an intrinsic and instinctual dislike and distaste.  Jacques had never seen the woman before, which meant she was new to the slopes and the surrounding area; she was a tourist. Therefore, she was an interloper, rudely infringing upon his much needed escape.  What with the global economy being what it was and having to watch his company – the one he created from the ground up – slowly but surely go under, he just needed a few days.  He knew he was going to have to leave his apartment in France as he could no longer afford the rent.  Things were going to be changing for Jacques in gross, major ways.  He just needed a few days of skiing to collect his breath and bearings.

Both Bernadette and Jacques just need a break.  They were not to get one.

The lift became stuck – technical error? Was it a man-made problem? – halfway up its trek to the top of the hill.  Voices rose and floated to Bernadette on a breeze, bubbling and gurgling with frustration and concern.  She opened her eyes, looked around, and asked the obvious question: “What’s wrong?  What’s happened?”

“The lift is stuck,” Jacques replied flatly.  Clearly, he was more annoyed than anything else.

“Does this happen from time to time?” Bernadette asked with timidity.  She was trying to rationalize her nerves away and put them far from her.  She was looking for compassion, for comfort from a more experienced skier with nerves of steel.

“What do you think?” was Jacques response.  He was not going to offer comfort.  He was too agitated to do anything other than sit and sulk.

“Are you French?” was Bernadette’s question.  The timid aspect to her tone of voice had dissipated and she had adjusted her seat so that she was facing Jacques head on.

“What do you think?” Jacques responded again.  Bernadette laughed humorlessly and turned to stare at the frozen tundra below.  Suddenly, she wished to be home and she thought how ironic of a sentiment that was, that she laughed again … once more, with feeling.

 

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