Monday, 18 February 2019

More on "my" pickpocket

This post is an update about my creative writing workshop. As I mentioned on the 9th of February, I have as a homework to write a synopsis for a novel based on some of what I wrote (or rather scribbled) during the workshop, and one of the character that has the most potential is my lady pickpocket. I still don't have a name for her, but I know a bit more about her background after doing some research. As you probably know, one of the most infamous cities in the world for pickpocket crimes actually Paris. I did not fall victim to them during my visits there, but once my wife and I had actually seen some at work, who even tried to rob us (using the gold ring trick, read about it here). So I thought: let's make my pickpocket a Parisian woman, who learned her trade there and left for Montreal when things got a bit more heated for her at home. Montreal means new hunting grounds, maybe less competition, and it is also a land of opportunity in the eyes of many French, so why not the petty criminals among them? I still need to develop her and other characters more and the whole plot is still sketchy at best, but at least my pickpocket is taking a life of her own.

Un quai à Sainte-Rose-du-Nord?

Je regardais des "vieilles" photos (enfin, pas si vieilles, elles datent de quatre ou cinq ans tout au plus) envoyées par mon père et je suis tombé sur celle-ci. Je crois que c'est Sainte-Rose-du-Nord. Quelqu'un peut me le confirmer? Et vous aurez remarqué que je fais souvent dans la plogue des endroits touristiques québécois en général et saguenéens en particulier ces temps-ci. Je crois que je fais une liste mentale de tous les lieux que je veux revisiter un jour...

Sunday, 17 February 2019

The secret passage

I blogged before about my fascination for secret passages, real or imagined. Secret passages and secret pathways, whether they area narrow track between rows of trees in a park or a woodland, an alley in a neighbourhood or, like in my old grandmother's house, the space underneath the stairs leading to the basement. As a child, these were the settings of many make belief games. It turns out that this house has one secret passage. Well, not the house itself, but the garden: the garden door leads to this alleyway. It is used to take the rubbish and recycling bins out and back. I blogged about it in French before. When my mind wanders, I still imagine it being a mysterious secret passage nobody but me and a few initiated know about. it makes the mundane chore of taking the bins out far more interesting.

Comme un air de printemps

Je sais que c'est tôt dans l'année pour le dire, mais on dirait que le printemps s'en vient: il a fait très doux ces derniers jours en général et aujourd'hui en particulier. Pas toujours beau, mais vraiment pas très froid, ni même frais. Je sais que ça ne durera sans doute pas, et pour être honnête j'espère que ça ne durera pas. Le printemps n'est pas ma saison préférée (n'est plus, devrais-je dire) et un printemps qui arrive trop tôt veut souvent dire des températures traîtresses pour la suite des choses. Enfin c'est mon expérience.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Guerilla weekend

It's not that we had planned a busy weekend or anything, but our poor little Wolfie has been poorly since yesterday night. Because of this, a lot of normal weekend activities, whether they are chores or pleasant ones, will have to wait. So we are not doing much except staying home and looking for him. It got us all quite tired. In moments like this, I feel like in a guerilla: the smallest thing such as feeding, washing or cleaning becomes quite a challenge when you have to make sure you don't disturb a little boy resting (and surprisingly quiet). And like in a guerilla, most of our time is spent waiting.

Le chevreuil et les pommes

Bon, la photo date déjà un peu et j'en ai mis une semblable sur le blogue en 2014, mais comme c'est une photo mignonne, je la partage ici aujourd'hui. Un chevreuil qui mange des pommes mises pour appât, dans le lot de mes oncles. Même une caméra de surveillance peut montrer un tableau plein de charme.

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Sally, Snoopy and How Do I Love Thee

To celebrate Valentine's Day, I shared tonight a scene from Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown. A reading/performance by Sally Brown and Snoopy of the poem How Do I Love Thee from Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Watching the cartoon as  child (a classic by the way), I never noticed how cultured this scene was, but I knew it was hilarious. Kudos for Sally's reading skills. She has very good eyesight too. And Snoopy is quite a charmer.

Une pensée sur la Saint-Valentin

Je n'aime pas beaucoup la Saint-Valentin: en couple c'est stressant (la boîte de chocolats est-elle assez imposante? Des fleurs, pas de fleurs? Une carte ou pas? Autre chose?), célibataire c'est déprimant. Mais si vous êtes seul(e) aujourd'hui/ce soir et que vous lisez ceci, consolez-vous en vous disant que vous échappez un peu à une journée d'excès. Ah oui, et quand j'étais adolescent, je ne recevais jamais de cartes de Saint-Valentin à l'école, en tant que geek un peu beaucoup rejet (le secondaire ça a été vraiment des années de m*), et je crois que ça m'a marqué au point de vraiment prendre la fête en grippe.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

Rock cakes

My wife decided to do some baking recently and for some reason she thought she'd make rock cakes. You can see the picture here. It was not the first time I had rock cakes, but it was the first time I ate home made ones and they were delicious. I know they are not the most decadent dessert, but I love fruit cakes when I'm in the right mood, and these days it is just what the doctor ordered for a healthy release of endorphin. They were also a huge success with Wolfie: he ate them like they were getting out of fashion. Like hot cakes you could say. "Rock cake please, more rock cake please!" With his cheeky grin, it is irresistible.

"Un polar sans morale..."

Je pensais partager ce soir une citation de Jean-Patrick Manchette. Elle n'est pas tirée de La position du tireur couché, mais je mets ici une image de couverture tirée du roman, parce que c'est le roman qui m'a fait découvrir Manchette (en fait pour être franc c'est le seul roman que j'ai lu de lui, à ma grande honte) et parce qu'on n'a jamais assez de couvertures de Série Noire. Enfin, voici la citation, tirée de je ne sais où: "Un polar sans morale, c'est une soupe sans moustache. C'est de la soupe." Ça rejoint pas mal mon sentiment.

Call for the Dead

I have not done it in a good while, so here is today’s reading suggestion: Call for the Dead by John Le Carré. A sort of (accidental) prequel to The Spy Who Came In From The Cold. This time featuring antihero (and maybe more to the point anti James Bond) George Smiley, a spy who is more an ageing civil servant dealing with petty bureaucrats than a master secret agent. He investigates the apparent suicide of colleague Samuel Fennan after a routine security check. A rather mundane (if embarrassing for the British government and Her Majesty's Secret Service) mystery where the ghosts of World War II haunt both the protagonist and his world. It is set in dreary, utterly unexotic, unglamorous and unglamorised Cold War England between January and February, so all the more fitting to read it around this time of year.

Vieille photo gaspésienne


Nouvelle ancienne photo prise par mon père il y a quelques décennies en Gaspésie et qu'il m'a envoyée récemment. On y voit des Fous de Bassan, encore une fois. Je sais que cette photo n'est guère saisonnière et que je dis souvent que Vraie Fiction a les couleurs du temps de l'année où je blogue, mais je fais un peu accroc à mes principes parce que 1)c'est une jolie photo, 2)c'est impressionnant, des Fous de Bassan à perte de vue, 3)j'aime le nom "Fou de Bassan".

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Cate Blanchett is a brunette

I missed the BAFTA this year, as I often do. It was Sunday, and I didn't watch them. I would not have really regretted it, the ceremony is usually something that interests my wife more than me, but for one thing: Cate Blanchett showed up and indeed made quite a striking appearance. My wife pointed me to this article from the Daily Mail, but it was all over the BAFTA news anyway: Cate Blanchett had a striking dress with gigantic jewel on it and she is now... a brunette. Not a blonde, as she usually is, or a redhead, as she often is. A brunette. It makes no difference. Blonde or brunette, Cate Blanchett shines all the same.

Question existentielle (341)

C'est la Saint-Valentin dans deux jours, je vais pose une question existentielle sur le sujet:

-Quel cadeau original et pas quétaine faire à la Saint-Valentin?

Monday, 11 February 2019

How to deal with too many books

Here is a post that I hope my readers will find helpful. I finally found out how to deal with the crowded bookshelves and tables and so on I have, due to owning too many books, thanks to this comic strip by Tom Gauld (I don't know him, although his drawings look familiar). That is how it must be done. You may say it does not solve anything, but then you would be wrong: it solves everything, it gives you peace of mind, you know you are among the righteous.

Informations sur le marabout

J,ai pu observer une fois un marabout, c'était à Branféré. Voir sa photo ici. Avec son long bec, ses grandes pattes et sa posture courbée, il m'avait fait une assez forte impression. J'ai aussi pris une photo de ce tableau informatif. L'image n'est pas très bonne, mais elle vous éduquera un peu (et j'espère que vous trouverez les informations intéressantes, enfin celles qui sont visibles). Au Québec, on dit d'une personne grincheuse qu'elle est marabout. Je peux témoigner, après avoir vu l'oiseau en question, que l'expression est parfaitement justifiée.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Apple harvest cake

My wife recently bought me a dessert at the coffee shop of the farm where she often goes with Wolfie. She hesitated to buy it as it has a very autumnal name: apple harvest cake, and she knows I generally eat seasonal things, even desserts. But I would not have said no to a dessert, especially not one that is associated with my favourite season like this one. When autumn is still very far away and Christmas is over, I can start longing for autumn again. So I was happy to have a slice of it. I was happy for another reason: this is actually the second time I eat an apple harvest cake. The first time was at the cafeteria of the hospital where Wolfie was born, a day or two after his birth. You can see the picture here. I thought it was fitting then, to mark the birth of my son during the harvest season. So anyway, I associate this cake with my boy. The cake itself is pretty simple: there is some apple in it, some raisins and it is topped with almonds. I shared this new piece with Wolfie.

Molière et moi

Le Google Doodle d'aujourd'hui rend hommage à Molière, dont ce sera l'anniversaire de la mort le 17 février. Ça me rappelle des souvenirs de l'université, où j'ai lu Molière, mais aussi où je l'ai joué. J'ai en effet joué le rôle de Purgon dans Le malade imaginaire. Autre anniversaire à souligner: la première était le 10 février 1673. Ça m'a donné le goût des planches. Molière, c'est en le jouant que j'ai vraiment appris à l'apprécier. Cela dit, je l'ai trop peu lu et trop peu vu, alors il faudra aussi que je corrige ça.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

What to do with a pickpocket

As you know, I had my creative writing workshop recently and was asked as a homework to write the synopsis of a novel using the material I have created and worked on on that day. Not all the material, but some of the material, to be rearranged and developed as I see fit. So I am trying to write down a plot based on that. Of all of what I wrote, the lady pickpocket is the character I find the most inspiring. The rest, the politician who loves a book he never read and the mobsters, less so. I could find them something to do of course, but I find my low level criminal far more engaging, especially since she can easily be pictured in a sympathetic light, more an antihero(in) than a villain. Now the question is what to do with her, since I now have a good idea of who she is and why she does what she does. I know that she will run into trouble with some members of organised crime. A bit of a commonplace, perhaps, but it has a lot of narrative potential. Now it is how to have her go from point A to point B that I need to work on.

Revoir Val-Jalbert

Petit retour sur un billet récent. J'y repensais et je pense qu'il faudrait peut-être organiser un jour une petite visite (revisite pour moi) en famille à Val-Jalbert. D'habitude, mes retours au pays se passent à deux endroits: Montréal et Chicoutimi, c'est à peu près tout. Mais il y a pleins d'endroits au Québec à voir et revoir. Surtout dans ma région, qu'il faudra bien faire connaître à mon fils.