Saturday, 17 November 2012


A 100 word story for Chuck Wendig's 100 word Flash Friday Fiction Challenge.  Check out his not so mild mannered blog and the other entries here.


image copywrite Almacan

Sophie touched soft skin, felt the ganglion.  The boy grimaced, eyes shiny, tear-filled.  She smiled. He’s courageous.

Cry. No. Big boy, Joey thought, mummy said so.  He swallowed. Let the doctor palp his throat, shivered and hid his scaly feet.  Fever racked him.  The rash between his toes itched. reptilian scales advanced up his legs. Like mummy metamorphosed - a giant lizard, from feet up. 

It was metamorphovirus, some became reptiles, others rats or birds.  He’d heard of a girl who became a fish. Drowned on air.  The doctor smiled, unaware. Joey feared her reaction.  She’d lock him up.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Katherine Pancol- Les Yeux Jaunes des Crocodiles

The following passage on page 162 rings home - it is me.  If you can't read French ask your editor to translate this book, it's number one of a trilogy and will soon be a film with Julie and Gerard Depardieu.

Whoever does buy it and translate it will cash in, awesome read, great story that takes you away.  Pancol writes about those universal values that make stories unilateral and she is funny.  This passage isn't there to make you laugh, but bang...

Seul l'homme qui coïncide avec lui-même, avec sa trouvé intérieure, est un homme libre.  Il sait qui s'est, il trouve plaisir à exploiter de qu'il est, il ne s'ennuie jamais. Le bonheur qu'il éprouve à vivre en bonne compagnie avec lui-même le rende presque euphorique.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Rue Daguerre Saturday morning

It's Autum, grapes and the first clementine arrive.

 Oysters and

figs and berries abound.

Lobsters aren't cheap, this is Paris.

These must have been from yesterday, cooked, cut and stuffed.

Cèpes and girolle from France?  Maybe.

An espresso in the long shadows.

One of those big crabs

A Saint Piérre?

You know daguerrotype?  One of the first photographic processes?  Yes that derives from the name of Monsieur Louis Daguerre, he was an artist.  I wonder if someone told him he was crazy, don't do that, it's a bad idea, I wonder what he would have answered. Fuck off? Now there is even a Daguerreian Society.

  What would he think if he knew the Parisians would dedicate a street to him and it just turned into one of the best markets in town.

This fish doesn't look to appetizing with his exploded tongue.

Camembert yes.  Miam miam.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Sailboat on the Seine

Look at those locks maddened lovers clip onto these repoussé sculptures.  They probably toss the key in the river and vow passion, heart-splintering, gut-wrenching love. Until death do them part.  Fuck that! Look at that sailboat, how the hell did it get there?

Crazy. Walking across the Pont Alexander to get to the Palais de la Decouverte for an outing with my four year old to push buttons and watch electric fish do their gigs, we saw this two treed sailboat hanging out between the low stone bridges on the Seine.  How did that get there?  Only barges can float under those arches.

Friday, 2 November 2012

oysters and champagne

It's lunch time. A regular saturday lunch after the market. 
the oysters and crustaceans are from the rue Daguerre market.

Our neighbor brought the bubbles.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Noah Lukeman

Today I began Noah Lukeman’s The Plot Thickens.  It has been on my bookshelf for almost a year while I’ve read other books on writing craft.  His book The First Five Pages was the first that I read and had to put down to absorb when I came to the chapter on poetry.  

I needed to find some poetry in English but then life got in the way and a bad writing teacher turned me off to writing all together.  I’m happy I set down the manuscript I’m writing because, after six months when I read the first ninety pages I’d drafted, I realized it was worth continuing.   

Lukeman’s books on craft are gushing wells of information that every writer should keep, consult and peek through.  The Plot Thickens is nothing like I imagined it would be, its full of questions, it is an inquisition.  I needed this book as I know my characters were flat.  Do I really know my characters?  After starting The Plot Thickens, I can say no, I don’t. 

Thanks, Noah Lukeman

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

How to Become a Parisian

Last night I went for the second time to see Olivier Giraud perform his one man show: How to Become Parisian in One Hour.  Its fucking racist and vulgar, terribly politically incorrect and the audience loves it. Loves his abuse.

The first time I saw it was two years ago, when ticket prices were ten Euro.  It was the last show of the season.  He looked tired but was more passionate, perhaps it was because of the last showing or maybe it was that gorgeous singer that preceded his performance.  Maybe, he's done it too long, without renewing the jokes or maybe he was conscious  of the cameraman.

It is amazing, though, when you leave the theatre and everything he says comes true, from la geule de le garçon to the guy that tries to sell you flowers while you try to attract a waiter's attention.

He says he's going to go on tour.  But where?  If he went to the states and told those racist "jokes" he'd probably get shot walking out of the theatre.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Sacré Bleu by Cristopher Moore

Russ on Mouffetard (l'heuere bleue series)
Oil on canvas - Brooksby 2012

Chirstopher Moore, you did not kill art.  I should know, a painter living in Paris, who specializes on the Parisian Heure Bleue.  I loved your characters, those all to angelic inpressionists whose images are abused by pop culture.  I’ll never use my blues (ultramarine, cobalt, Prussian and cerulean) again without thinking of that bonking muse.   

Friday, 28 September 2012

Stealing Time Magazine

Back on track writing the first draft of White Sky of Paris.

Today I reached 124 pages and it feels good, I've got the next chapter, it feels good.  Writing time comes in bits and pieces between cooking for my kid after a ten hour day at the studio. Often I have to stop painting and jot down the story. Usually it takes me away.  I know where I'm going, finally after leaving 4 manuscripts at 150+ because I didn't know what I was doing.  Now the story is coming out, leading the writing.

After finishing Stephen King's On Writing I feel like I can consider myself a writer because I like writing, I am doing it for myself.  King mentions many writers who wrote when they had time and not as full time jobs. That's my profile as a parent and full time artist.  I am stealing time, like the amazing women that have put together Stealing Time magazine.  Here is their website, you should read their awesome CVs. Stealing Time .  The preview issue was a nutshell of emotions, I cried and laughed so hard.

I found them through Duotrope, they pay.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Kindle Watch

Last year about this time, Amazon France started marketing the Kindle as the gift for Christmas.  Sounds crazy if you're from the US.

In the last twelve months, with the daily bus and metro transits in Paris, I have seen one kindle in the hands of an absorbed reader. And he was in the park. Maybe the scarcity is due to those signs warning you about the snatch-and-hop-off-the-bus telephone thefts, but I doubt it.  The French are fossils when it comes to tradition, just look at the hand-me down clothes some of their children wear. Washed to stone rigidity high-waters so high they might be shorts.  This is not a bad thing, really.

But how can Amazon imagine to fill the hands of 60 million people with e-readers?  There's got to be another kind of revolution before that happens.  One of the big criticsims was the hefty prices of e-books, another was the limited selection.

I've heard people criticizing the new genres coming from the US and the whole idea of twenty year old kids making a career as fiction writers.  Someone even said to me they thought it was ludicrous that I might write a memoir, I was too young.  Tradition reigns.

Maybe I am on the wrong bus and metro lines, perhaps the line 1 to La Defense is where I can scout for e-readers.  I've asked lots of book people if they have a kindle, most of them say,"What?"

But today I saw a man on the bus reading on his smartphone.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

Little Madame Brest's Last Cigarette

Thanks to Chuck Wendig for an ever inspiring flash fiction prompt 1000 words the limit.  This week he talked about aspects.  Read more on his blog: here. 

I chose the three words: imprisoned, graveyard and insects.

Little Madame Brest's Last Cigarette
by Angie Arcangioli 
974 words

Little Madame Brest inched her way to the waterspout with a watering can intent to freshen the flowers that wilted on her late husband’s tomb.  She’d come there almost daily since his death four years before and never had she seen ants like today. 

Everything was little about Mrs. Brest, especially her feet and the elegant leather souled pumps she wore.  Everything was small except for the big sore on her leg just above her ankle where the cat had scratched her.  The doctor told her that it was normal at her age for a cut to heal slowly.  This one hadn’t healed at all, it was purulent.

Thinking about how to kill the ants, she walked slowly, dreading she might slip on the cement near the waterspout that dribbled incessantly.  A treacherous slime had mushroomed out in the shape of a splatter mark where the drips fell.

She avoided the slime and stretched her arm out as far as possible to fill her can but try as she might she could not reach the waterspout.  The slime had expanded since her last visit, a week before.

Frustrated, she regained her husband’s tomb to promise him she would return the following day, water the flowers and kill the ants.  She felt guilty that a week had passed since her last visit, but she was tired from the heat spell, so unusual for Paris.  They had said to stay indoors with your feet up, to drink lots of water.

“See you soon,” she said when she bent her knees, and planted a kiss on the ceramic photo of her late beau.  But when she tried to stand up her knees locked, like they sometimes did, and she knew she was in trouble.

“Oh dear,” she said to her deceased husband.  “I am really stuck this time.” 

The sun beat down on her husband’s tomb, which was in an isolated part of Montparnasse Cemetery.  She knew that the guardian would be sleeping in his shack, feet on the table, chair leaned back, TV screaming some stupid program.  Her feeble voice would hardly reach his ears but she decided to try to call for help just the same.


She waited but no one came so yelled another three times expecting after each cry: foot steps, an apology, a worried voice.  But no one came.

Yelling made her thirsty and the torrid sun on her bare head made her dizzy.  She’d planned to pay homage to Monsieur Brest, water the flowers then stop for a bite on her way to the hairdressers thus she had forgone even drinking a glass of water.  She’d planned on adding water to her pastis before lunch. If she drank too much she’d have to pee and she didn’t want to have to go to the bathroom at the hairdressers.  It was just too humiliating prancing around with all that goo on her head or worse with rollers in her hair. 

She scorned herself for not drinking some water with the café she’d had when she bought cigarettes.  Alas, she could smoke and wait.  Someone was bound to find her. 

Madame Brest let herself fall to her hip on the granite tomb, that was clean at least, and rummaged through her handbag for her cigarettes.  She removed the cellophane wrapper took out a fag and searched for her lighter but realized she had left it on the counter when she’d fed the cat.

“My oh my, what will I do,” she said craving a cigarette more than water.

“Oh this is terrible.  Help,” she yelled.  But no one came.  The sun scorched.  Her head grew light.  When her hips cramped from the contact with the cold granite, she lowered herself to her elbow.

The stone was too hard for her frail elbow so she stretched her arm and let her feather-weight body lay on the tomb.  She was pleased at least that she had chosen the model with a carved cushion.  It wasn’t goose down but it did keep her head up where she could see the photo of her dear husband and keep an eye out any other soul in the cemetery.  The far away entrance was framed between her feet. 

She admired the fine leather tips of her pumps.  Then she saw an ant on her ankle.  Her knees were locked and her hips and back cramped so badly that she could not bend to brush it away.  She tried to sit up but the stone hurt her elbows and her head spun from the heat and the effort.  Her whole body cramped from the pain in her knees.  She was imprisioned.

Another ant appeared and another.

“Help, help, help.”  No one came.  “The ants. Help me, please.”

She opened her sac to look for her mobile.  She would phone for help, why had she not thought of it before. 

“Silly old dame.” 

She laughed at herself relieved that she would now be saved.  She found the phone and pack of matches.

More ants crawled on her leg, swarmed the oozing sore.  They were eating her alive.  They explored the rest of her.  She felt them in her skirt.

Frantically she lit a cigarette then phoned the police.  

“Bonjour, gendarme,” said a female voice.

“Hello, I am Madame Brest, I am stuck, the ants are eating me.” 

“Madame, we are busy,” the voice said.  “How can we help you?”

“My knees locked in the cemetery and the ants are eating me.”

“Call the ambulance, Madame,” the voice said before ending the call.

The ants crawled into her nose and bit her eyes.  Screaming, she flailed her arms and fainted.  Her knees unlocked and her head relaxed.  Prone, on her husband's granite tomb with the stone pillow, she nourished the ants.


Thursday, 6 September 2012

The coolest thing I ever saw?

What is the coolest thing I ever saw? is Today's writing prompt for BlogHer
Wow that's a big question.  Almost everyday I see something cooler than the day before.

When I saw this I thought it was awesome.

But collecting your own olives in Tuscany is pretty cool.

Though when I saw this sculpture at CSHL campus I was amazed.

Never have I been more elated to see the poster of my own paintings plastered all over Paris thanks to my gallery Terre des Arts

This was really cool, the lemon tart I painted that splattered on the floor of my old atelier

 Today I think it was the paint on my canvas and the white floor in the studio and the artists making a BBQ for lunch at LA Fabrique.  I wish I could have eaten one of the merguez they grilled.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Running in Luxembourg Gardens

The tropical drizzle weeds away the, gotta-burn-those-champagne-calories joggers from the regulars.

Today I thought I'd run counterclockwise.  Most people do.   I see myself coming around the senate where  the Maiollol nude stands guard next to the gendarme. There, la tour Montparnasse disappears into the mist beyond the circular reflection pool where kids use long sticks to push wooden sailboats on windy days.  It's the same at the Tuilleries. You know those stiff pointillism paintings by Serat, kids pushing colorful toy boats near the Louvre.  The Tulleries is a dust bowl, Luxembourg is a dust bowl.  I'm glad it's drizzling.

The pre-autum haze is a pale yellow light and smells like must and fallen leaves.  Horse chestnuts litter the ground, no kids are there to collect them. It's too early.

But instead of running counterclockwise I lay in the bed, it's wednesday, there's no school.  Ugh! another day away from the studio at least I can sleep in once in a blue moon.

What I need to do is run the round and take notes of the sculptures. The Pan behind the reflecting pool, the ode to Delacroix near the orangerie and the various busts.  The MC in my book needs to know them by heart.

Let's start the coffee.