Nous parlons anglais

Nous parlons anglais

So I’m the first to say that Paris can be a difficult city to adjust to, especially when you come from a smaller and much more smiling town.

But when in doubt, remember that, past the occasional rude waiters or more than occasional Impossible Bureaucrats, there are plenty of people with a self-deprecating sense of humor and a willingness to welcome.

Plenty of other kinds of people, too, but I happen to like people with a sense of humor and a willingness to welcome. Never underestimate either one of those two traits.

paris_english.jpg
(Sign on a tiny café tucked out of the way in the 5th in Paris.)
Meanwhile, on the homefront, may I mention that I really do better with one iron in the fire?� I don’t know why I always have 15.� I like to put my mind on one track (a novel) from 8-5 and sink into it, only coming up for the mundane things life makes you come up for.
Here are the current tracks occupying my 8-5 time that are making me feel schizophrenic:
1)� Working on 2 novels at once.� This is pretty common for me, after finishing one book.� One of these 2 will eventually pull ahead, but it’s always a wrench letting the other one go.� I do have to, though.� You can’t write 2 good novels at once.� At least, I can’t.
2) � Doing some minor revisions on LA VIE EN ROSES, per the wise recommendations of my agent.
3) � Going to a conference.� Well, just got back.� Conferences are horrendously time-consuming before and during, which is why I don’t do them very much.
4)� The university starts back in a week, so I am prepping 2 different classes and finalizing syllabuses, reading texts, etc.
5)� Blog.� � All of the above are why my blog visiting is down right now, by the way.
6)� Regular, mundane life things.� You know the kind!� If it means you’ll have to spend time on hold, that’s probably one of the things.
I’m not complaining, I’m just saying.� I love the moments, like a couple of months this summer, when I was purely focused on one book, with almost no other tracks to juggle in my brain.� And I know you can’t juggle tracks, but you know what I mean!� How about you?� Do you like juggling lots of things, or are you better at one track at a time? Or do you have 15 times the tracks to juggle as I do?

9 Comments
  • Oh, Laura, I can’t focus on anything right now! In some ways I wish I had so many things I HAD to do. I can’t even plan our autumn right now…my boys are going to be home all day, not one interesting scheduled activity, because I’m supposed to be signing them up NOW and I can’t figure out what any of us might want to do one whole month from now. Can I be your assistant? That would give me something productive to do, and then you can just juggle three tracks or so.

    August 13, 2007 at 8:36 am
  • I’m on the multi-track too:( I’ve been working on my syllabi for the 3 new courses I’m teaching and worrying about things that go with being on the tenure track for the first time. I need to finish my foodie romance article. I want to blog, journal, and return to my novel, but I seem to be paralyzed as far as my personal writing goes. I blame my anxiety and fatigue from everything–from going to the grocery store to charting new walking paths–being new.

    BTW, any chance you’re going to the SAMLA convention in Atlanta in November? (I don’t know if you’re part of the MLA craziness). I’m going to chair my very first session (a panel of my friends!). Really, we’re using the conference as an excuse for good eating, good shopping, and good girl time!

    August 13, 2007 at 9:04 am
  • I HAVE to juggle!
    No one track thinking for moi ever!
    But you do have a lot on yr plate
    AND a bebe too let us not forget
    Do you take yr laptop to these conference?
    And what kind do you have?
    I think I need one to take for the month in Paris…
    Ahem..

    August 13, 2007 at 11:32 am
  • Ahem… let see: finishing the first draft of a novel, trying to find a proofreader for my first novel, trying to find a new agent, (first agent having closed her business on me!) trying to convinced my two kids that summer camp would be a wonderful option, blogging, blogging, and blogging some more.

    But all of this is on the back burner for now, the priority being given to joy of reading Blame it on Paris.
    He, he, he. I’m loving it!

    August 13, 2007 at 1:32 pm
  • Oh I’m a juggler. I don’t feel right if I only have one project, and indeed, have trouble getting it done without something else to switch off to–luckily that’s hardly ever been an issue 😉

    August 13, 2007 at 2:51 pm
  • I’m sure there are rude people in Paris but, we didn’t bump into any while we were there. In fact, I’m sort of worried about going back (which might happen next May, knock on wood) because I’m thinking my luck will probably run out and I’ll have to reformulate all my starry eyed impressions. Hopefully not. I do believe if you’re friendly, most of the time, folks are friendly back.

    As for juggling, sigh. Which do I prefer? I prefer a few – two or three – focus. Foci? If I had just one, I’d probably get restless and bored. If I have too many, which I usually do. No. Honestly? I ALWAYS do, I get overwhelmed and lose my momentum and spend more time switching tracks and trying to juggle then I do getting anything seriously accomplished. Part of the reason I have too much to juggle is because I have a busy life and family. Can’t really complain about that part of it because I love ’em all and wouldn’t trade them for more focus in my life. But the part that frustrates me is that I seem to have the concentration level of a raven. Ooooh! Look! Shiny! Hop. Hop. Hop. Bring that pretty bauble home to my nest. What? Over there!? Shiny! Swoop down, play with something new. I think I’ll…. but wait, what’s that!? SHINY! As you can see, I have no one to blame but myself for having too many things collected I want to play with. Maybe I need blinders. Like they used to put on horses.

    And while I’m babbling on – did I miss something? Do you have your rose book sold?! If so, I’m so excited for you! And for me, can’t wait to read it. So, you’re working on two new novels? This sounds like me. I have one story that I love two thirds of the way out. Another started. Old ideas banging at the back door of my brain. And new ones formulating up front. This clearly is not the way to get any of them written.

    But speaking of writing, I’ve written a blog post JUST FOR YOU. I know. I’m cool like that.

    August 13, 2007 at 11:48 pm
  • Oh, I am such a multi-tasker. I’m so lost right now, that my plan was to make a little list like yours so I can figure out all that I’m supposed to be juggling. That’s what I get for taking a few days off, I guess.

    August 14, 2007 at 8:51 am
  • AND she still makes time to meet for a fun few hours of talk, gossip and laughter over chocolate. Is there a better way to spend an afternoon? 😉

    August 14, 2007 at 6:45 pm
  • Amy, I WISH I could have you as an assistant. It’s just such a long commute. And I pay lousy. 🙂 We are thinking of you and Jill and all your family.

    I knew everyone was probably juggling as much as me! 🙂 Why do we do this? I think partly necessity and partly what Laume says–so many things we want to do. I do find I waste a lot of time hesitating between which track to work on next. (Yes, maybe it’s not tracks to take, but tracks we are busy building, little John Henries that we are. I guess you eventually have to pick one if you want to make your way all across a continent with it.) Also, you know that non-working time when you think about things? Like falling to sleep or driving? Ideally for writing, I want to be idly dreaming about things in ONE book. It’s a very creative time.

    But then other people thrive on lots and lots of tracks, as you’ve said!

    Jayne, I’ll have to send you an article my friend Sue (of Blame It on Paris) forwarded to me about women socializing in reaction to stress. It’s very interesting! And of course we all know about chocolate and stress already, so Social Chocolate–what better combination?

    Thanks, Corine, for letting me know you’re enjoying Blame It on Paris! And thanks for trying it. Good luck with the whole agent thing! It is a pain to switch, but much better now than later, seriously.

    August 15, 2007 at 7:17 am

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