‘”Mille pardons, mademoiselle. Excusez-moi…” “Non, je vous assure, il n’y a pas de mal…”
…nine years’ gap had not been so very long. Ear and brain had readjusted themselves now with a click that could be felt.’
-Mary Stewart, Nine Coaches Waiting
What a treat for a writer: to travel to France, and give my English writing brain a rest. For once I brought no writing or editorial work with me. We stayed with friends from my teenage years, when my family lived in the Haute Savoie. At 16, with schoolgirl French, which was exactly enough French to explain that I didn’t speak French, I learned the language laughing with this lovely friend.
Precision Engineering for Writers
The visit brought back long-lost memories, along with amazing, precise words, like la rétrouvaille, which means, and does not mean, rediscovery. Phrases came back to me over the weekend, many that don’t translate as well into English, like a mésure que: we may measure choices against each other, as with a ruler, rather than simply judging, or still more broadly, comparing.
To spend time with a second or third language illuminates the thousand and more years of creative, witty, and profound thinking that went into the development of our mother tongues. I’d hate to take language for granted, but I know I often have, the way I cheerfully take for granted the kitchen tap that spouts water for my daily use.
I hope you’ll have another brilliant week in your writing career. Cheers Mel
If you enjoy reading Mel Anastasiou’s writing tips, get her pocket-sized writing guide, The Writer’s Boon Companion: Thirty Days Towards an Extraordinary Volume here. Motivates, organizes, encourages, inspires you through 30 days of hints and help with narrative structure.
From Pulp Literature Press