#3: sobriety + high school reunions
Updated: Feb 4, 2022
April 6th, 2021
Greetings from Seine-et-Marne!
Happy....spring? We had a delicious taste of it last week with almost 80-degree days and flowers billowing in the breeze like a scene in Pleasantville and then... it. just. stopped. I put the heat back on. The rain is pounding on the roof as I write this. The weather predicted snow. And our child is home until May. Vive le printemps. Yep...France is back on lockdown. We learned last Thursday at 8 o'clock sharp when the entire country tuned into their television sets, La Marseillaise played, and the curtains opened to our president sitting at his desk about to report bad news. I gave my French family a hearty good laugh when I told them that maybe Macron was going to announce a super organized and efficient vax rollout or a timeline when small business restaurants will be able to safely open again (next year is an election year, after all)...but nuts to my American optimism as the French laughed in my hopeful face. So here's to "not-tella" (the organic palm-oil free variation I can't stop woofing down), Steve Martin movies (my son's hero), crafting projects that are more fun, in theory, my child calling me mean, and having two-sided conversations with a house cat because what's another month...
So, the last we left off I was getting into the gos on how my book got started. Like, why isn't it in Paris? Why isn't it about my ex (who by the way was in my dream last night)? Why isn't it about Ella Coquine? Why? Why? WHY?
Because it's not....and that's okay, right? I mean, not to say that I'm, like, above self-doubt, suffering, and/or total humiliation. No. It just comes in a different outfit these days. And also, I think I exorcised the shit out of that story and my fingers wanted to write something else.
I do, however, want to take this moment to say how super grateful I am for you reading me all these years. I took a break and guess what you're still here. And it's just beyond for me...so thank you. Really. Thank you. Thank you.
Okay, so it was October 2019. I was hungover. Dissatisfied with writing and translating copy about douchebag villas off the Mediterranean with heliports. And I started making sweet potato soup. To accompany me while cooking I put on a Louise Hay positive affirmation video on Youtube. It's not my usual vibe but when hungover...
The video played. I guess I felt affirmed. It finished. And then the auto-play went to a podcast with an interview with The Black Keys.
Why not? I bought Rubber Factory (and really loved it - still do) back in 2004 when I was an Amoeba Staff Pick at the Hollywood location. Plus my hands were covered in sweet potato guts and my eyes were up in flames from the onions. Plus they looked like disheveled, hot hipster dads so...when on Youtube.
The interview ended up being actually quite entertaining with the drummer sounding off on everything he thought was bullshit from the Grammy's to his record label, and also offering a cool shoutout to France's Radio Nova but something else stood out....
The host had mentioned he was about to embark on a magical journey he called Sober October. Sober October, huh, I thought as I pureed my soup.
Usually, this kind of blasphemy takes place in January when all our livers are begging for it to stop. Doing it in October just felt a little too off-brand. No cozy red wine on a rainy Friday night in autumn. No bloody boozy cocktails for our annual Halloween party. But the worst....NO ALCOHOL AT MY 20TH HIGH SCHOOL REUNION?!
It was all so unreasonable.
It also didn't help that my high school reunion was an organization shit show with the class unanimously voting on one date (which happened to fit right into Toussaint autumn break) and then our bully class president changing it to another date for no fucking reason.
Having already made my travel plans (again, my kid was off from school and going to Bretagne with his Mamie), I said fuck it and organized a "get-together" on the voted date at a local dive bar with no cover charge.
Okay...okay...so I was not the cool girl at school. By any means.
Case in point...case in point... 👇👇👇 !!!
And this kind of leadership from the class freak whose bagged lunches contained anchovy focaccia is frowned upon around these parts of Long Island. But I was going to do it anyway. I was going to plan a punk rock class reunion. Override our class president. And do it sober. Gaaaaaaaaaah!
As I was organizing it, along with my solo trip back to the States, I kept stopping to write notes about this little story that was nipping in my ear. A story about people I didn't know, doing things I sort of knew about, and who were developing their lives in my head. At first, I felt like I was losing my mind but I couldn't stop thinking about them as a teenage crush....but then I decided to just surrender to the flow.
On a flight from Charles de Gaulle to Chicago (because JFK was oversold), I started to write a novel...and fell in love with words all over again.
Currently listening to: Structure & Cosmetics by The Brunettes, 2007
Clearly I'm trying to channel some warmer weather vibes with a book based in L.A. and the sun-drenched, dreamy Phil Spector-esque stylings of The Brunettes.
Far from a new release, Structure & Cosmetics has been having some major replay time at our house. The New Zealand two-piece delivers all the feels with their sha-la-las, handclaps and 5th-period math class flirtation making me want to pass a note to Aurélien over the kitchen table. Maybe he'll go out with me.
Favorite tracks: Stereo, If You Were Alien, Obligatory Road Song
And that's it for this week. Signing off now with a friendly reminder to stay warm, stay sane, stay sanitized. Until next time...