FROM A BASQUE MUSEUM TO AN AMERICAN NOVEL
Then he came and visited me in Paris, where I was a student at l'Ecole du Louvre and La Sorbonne Nouvelle. Against all odds (and there were many, many odds) I crossed the Atlantic with him, had a daughter, Maïa (also with him), got a Master's in English Lit (all by myself). Besides raising a child, we rose all sorts of animals: sparrows, rats, parrakeets, cockatiels, and today are down to Beckett the conure, Chloe the cat, Colette and Simone de Beauvoir the cockapoos. Some fish serenely gliding in the tank as well.
I added Agatha Christie to Balzac; English to my writing. A painful past would eventually make French too emotionally charged.
My work has been published nationally and internationally in Freedom International, Poésie Première, Confrontation, and other periodicals. I also founded Collages & Bricolages, a literary magazine I edited for fifteen years, which received accolades from the US and abroad.
English would create the distance I needed. Emotions would now be under---more---control and serve my craft.
Chainsaw Jane germinated from a couple of simple facts. I love mysteries, for one. And I know a tiny sixty-something woman who trims her own trees with a chainsaw. Plus, I read Tarot. These elements led to the character of Chainsaw Jane. From that, a whole novel fermented.
From A to Zoe germinated earlier than CJ. But I didn't have a satisfying title. So I waited. I realize now that, if I waited that long, it was for a reason. The book resonates more to me at this point than it did when I wrote it. I didn't grab all the issues it actually addresses. This is a significant little book. Yet it never stops being fun. I hope you agree.
Writing in English is an intrinsic love declaration to the country where I could start again.
BUT THERE IS ANOTHER REASON I WRITE IN ENGLISH. A CRUCIAL REASON. IF YOU WANT TO KNOW, MAKE SURE YOU READ "Channeling Diochet" ON MY BLOG.
How on earth did that happen? Let me explain. But first, let's be polite and say:
The first word on top is hello in French, of course. The second means the same thing, and good-bye as well, in Euskara, or Basque language. Both are part of my cultural landscape. For I was born in Bayonne, at the foot of the Pyrenees, the biggest town in the French side of Euskara. Ironically, it is the Basque Museum, where I was a guide--after having been one at the Musée Bonnat--during my lycée summers, that brought me to the U.S. See, I met my husband, a French guy teaching college in the US, at Le Musée Basque.
And I read, and I read. Lots of Balzac and Voltaire. And I wrote poetry in French. With the arrogance (the awkwarkness) of youth.