The first autumn I spent in Paris stays close to the periphery of my vision and my memory, as do important moments in our lives.
On Saturdays and Sundays, when I had no classes, I took long walks along unknown streets that took me from one arrondissement to another. Often the discovery of the city left me dazzled and speechless.
During these solitary autumnal walks, the bridges (thirty-seven in Paris) that straddle the river Seine and link the left and right banks took literally my breath away. I liked nothing more than crossing the Pont Neuf, the Pont Saint Louis or my very favorite the Pont Alexandre III.
Soon autumn deepened and winter drew closer. By November I wore a raincoat against the drizzle and later downpours, a scarf tightened around my neck, while gusts of wind rose from the river. Under these more hostile elements November appeared like a bridge, too.
Lacking the beauty of early fall and upcoming winter, November felt, however, essential to transition between these two seasons.
Many years and bridges later…
With my born-American children in preschool and elementary school in Massachusetts and California, I was regularly invited to introduce a little bit of French culture to their classmates. Kids everywhere in the world love to sing foreign songs, so I decided to start with a few French songs. For some reason all American children knew Frère Jacques.
So I taught them Sur le Pont d’Avignon and then Sur le Pont de Nantes. The first one is much easier than the latter. Retrospectively I wish I had made them learn Apollinaire’s poem Sous le Pont Mirabeau. Ah well.
Much time has passed since my feet echoed along those Paris bridges, the sound as familiar as the beating of my blood. Yet November remains in my mind linked to them and to the passage from fall to winter.
This year to celebrate the month of November I am part of three writing events, somewhat bridges between writers:
- Starting on November 12 and running for ten days, I participate to a multi-author promotion event.
- Late November I will invite on my blog a mix of authors who wrote stories set in foreign lands.
- Since the publication of Chronicles From Château Moines in October 2014 I started too many manuscripts. I had to face the fact that I was delaying their completion, instead writing shorter stories, because I was fearful to go through. I am now tackling the task to finish them. One at a time. And I’m taking the opportunity of NaNoWriMo, the yearly writing event, to finish my YA novel first. One day at a time.
I’ll be back soon. Meanwhile I wish you all a beautiful month of November. Behind its shorter days and dullness hides the chance to end autumn on a triumphant note.
P.S. Also Happy Birthday to anyone born in November, my own birthday month.