Hello and welcome to my brand new website and very first blog. Today, there are only ten days left until the publication of my very first novel. I have been becoming increasing anxious about getting bad reviews and the possible reactions to my book. Each time I sat down to get started on my blog I was flooded with anxiety, almost as much as when I first started putting pen to paper, in my attempts to write stories, many years ago. It seemed destined that my first blog was just going to be an angst ridden splat on my brand new web page. But fortunately, an unexpected and exciting invitation has saved me and you, the reader from this sorry fate- until perhaps next week when the publication date will be even closer and presumably I will be even more anxious.
Yes, my salvation arrived in my inbox this morning. An invitation to a soiree at the British Embassy in Paris. With access to food, wine and journalists, this was not only too good to be true but every aspiring novelists dream. I could hardly say no, could I. Next week, instead of worrying about my book publication, I shall be making my way to Paris, to partake in the launch of La Fete des Voisins.
Funnily enough, my invite was occasioned though taking just a few minutes to respond to a notice which happened to catch my eye when scrolling through my facebook news. The British Embassy had requested, as part of a celebration of the good relations between Britain and France, Francophiles to take pen to paper, or more appropriately fingers to keyboard, and write down an experience which in some way typified life in France.
I have spent several periods living in France, once on a French exchange when I was sixteen when I lived with a French family for a month. Later when I spent six weeks exploring Paris, more recently an extended holiday in the south near Cannes and finally the last ten years during which I have been permanently resident in France.
I have many memories and experiences, which surely could only happen in France, but I can’t recount them with the justice they deserve in this short blog, but I do plan to share them in future blogs and short stories. Hunting for snails with a birdcage early one morning in Gertrude’s garden nearly featured but I couldn’t quite get the words to come together. Somehow there was only one that seemed to capture the essence of what was being sought succinctly. Fleeing round The Etoile, the roundabout, which has, at it’s centre The Arc de Triomph, in a bright red 2CV. I fondly recounted this memory from my youth and it has been selected as one of the many stories to feature on a website to form part of the campaign. I had no idea when I sat down to write my account that anything would follow from that. Now I am going to Paris!
Just another small example of all the opportunities that are out there if only we can see them and grab them with both hands.