artwork (c) L'atelier de figue
....this portrait done by my friend Violette in France, based on my photo. She draws, and draws sublimely. I've seen some of her what-she-calls gribouilles (doodles) and doodles they are not. When I think about how, sitting here in Canada, I can find kindred spirits in different countries and time zones, some who have had the same childhoods and schooling as me and we share a culture, it's just wonderful. I grew up with several cultures around me, and they all somehow became one, so I identify with them all at a very deep level. I never realized how lucky I am until now.
In trying to explain it, I would say it's because of the way I was raised. I read French, English and American children's books at the same time; the same went for songs, ditties, nursery rhymes and so on. I have a very vivid memory of my mother having me read my first geography lesson at age 5, and I still remember the first words: La terre est ronde, elle tourne autour du soleil [the earth is round....etc]. I remember her correcting my spelling mistakes (I spelled noir [black] this way: nouare. Remember I was 5 years old at the time). For books, I would be given the likes of Sylvie, Hôtesse de l'air, along with The Secret Seven series by Enid Blyton and the Bobsey Twins (I think I mispelled that), and among the many songs she taught me were the Stephen Foster songs. Many years later, as an adult, I told my mother that I had read Emma Bovary, my mother having some of Balzac's works in her collection, and that it had scared the life out of me, what little of it I could understand at age 10, because, you see, Emma was my mother's name and it was a shock to come across another woman with the same name, and if you know the outcome of Emma Bovary, you'll understand why it terrified a 10-year-old.
So imagine this child, singing Way down upon the Swanee River, and Anne de Bretagne avec ses sabots dondaines at the top of her lungs, doing her homework in French, and reading Enid Blyton in her secret nook in the garden, and you have a snapshot of my childhood.
Finally, I have to blame this writing jag on Jenny Doh. I wrote the article she assigned me, the first I've written in a long, long time, and it opened the flood gates. I have no idea how long it will last, but it feels so good (thank you, Jenny Doh).
Have a super day!