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.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

I déjà see it

Franglais is a true bastard language.  

"That's a fish?"  asked Cherie.  "I déjà see it."

"You already saw it." I corrected her.

"I alweady see it."

"Where did you see it?"

"At the boucher."

"I love it when you say boucher. Can you say it again? No, but listen Love,  the boucher sells meat, this is a tuna head, it's a kind of fish." 

"But, you know, the butcher had it.  Moi, je l'ai déjà see it, with the flowers."

"You mean at the market?  Did you see it at the market?"

"Yes maman, with papa."

"The man that sells fish at the market is called a fishmonger.   Don't ask me who invented that word."



written for the prompt déjà vu on GBE 2: Blog On

Sunday, 2 September 2012

A Piece of Cake

Wouldn' t you just dream to have a workspace like this? 
It's where I get to play all day.  I love it, absolutely love it.  One of the best things about the space, is that there is no internet.  At first I was worried but after three weeks of creative freedom and high productivity I am pleased.

Sometimes I feel like I am icing a cake.

I can't post this stuff on my other blog that is reserved just for paintings because there are three live feeds that pull the photos for painter related websites.

Way back in 2008 I got too much hate mail so decided to impersonalize my blog posting.  Even though my blog had been chosen by a travel  website as one to follow, I decided to let it die.  That was my Vagabond artist blog

When I started this blog I felt it should be specifically oriented towards writing. I love writing but there's more in my life than that.  And it seemed too much like brown nosing for a platform.  I was doing the right thing, building a platform.

Paris is awesome in August.  So few people are here. Lots of cool people hanging out in Luxembourg Gardens, they're easy to spot.  Not so stuffy.  This August I met an Australian-French couple and their kids.  She's a cellist and he is an orchestra conductor.  We see them this afternoon if all the kids follow our schedules, right!

Just yesterday I met a professor of writing classes from Harvard.

September is another story: la rentrée.  Eeeks, stress! Schools starts.  All the classical moms are back with their kids dressed in grey, beige and light blue. The chocolate shops display giant pencils, black boards and satchels all made of solid dark chocolate.

For me, la rentrée means blissful studio time.  My work is my pleasure.  I can't wait until Tuesday to go ice that canvas with gobs of oil paint.  To dust it with spray paint and to work on the 4th first draft of that memoir.  The lump that is weighing down the hammock.