Philosophy

No, I’m not going to bore you with a treatise on my philosophy of life. This is about something that is really very, very French!

Just after the beginning of the year, our village began a Café Philosophe, which is basically a philosophy club. These got their start about 20 years ago in Paris and spread throughout the country.

The idea is that a group of individuals get together at a café and, for the price of a drink, spend a couple of hours discussing a philosophical subject that is, generally, chosen in advance. There is a moderator who tries to keep the flow of the discussion going, and maintain civility. The biggest problem is keeping everyone on topic, as these kinds of talks often meander into corners that are far distant from the place where they began.

JM went to the first one, which I missed because we only found out about it twenty minutes before it started and I had already begun cooking and couldn’t just leave. But I did go to the second one. There seem to be about 20 people who show up, which I think is pretty amazing in a village of this size. In fact, not everyone who was there last week was even from our village, but several came from the surrounding area.

It was very lively and there were no dead periods. I was a little concerned that I wouldn’t participate, because, believe it or not, I tend to be kind of shy in group settings. But I managed to make several points and didn’t feel as if I’d embarrassed myself. I was the only non-French person there though. And, I can see that, because you do need to have a good command of the language to follow along in a discussion like these.

I asked several of my American friends if they could imagine something like this in the small American towns where they live, and no one could. JM and I wondered why it worked in France so well, and our conclusion is that the French love to talk about all kinds of different things. Even people who are not hugely well educated often have strong viewpoints on a variety of subjects and never hesitate to give their opinions on them.

The group meets twice a month, on the first and third Friday at 5:30. Right now we’re meeting in the bar of the Hotel de France. I don’t know what will happen for the second meeting in February, as they are closing for two weeks so Didier can have knee surgery.

If you’re in the area and feel up to it, come and participate. It was loads of fun.

Ciao for now.

Randy

Inspiration

Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time… The wait is simply too long.
– Leonard Bernstein

My friend Raven sent me that quote yesterday and I was struck by how true it is and by how guilty it made me feel. It’s true that I haven’t felt particularly inspired lately and have not used an alternate approach to update these pages.

As always, life seems to get in the way of creativity so much of the time. That has certainly been true for me since taking care of Mom has become more time consuming than it once was. And, even when I don’t have anything much to do for her, I also seem to be drained of any desire to “create” beyond coming up with ideas for what to cook for meals.

That is a terrible place for a writer to find herself. Especially as I am not lacking in projects that I want to finish. Mostly what I lack is energy and inspiration. So, when I do have spare time that is not consumed by housework, dogs, parents, computer repairs or the other mundane chores of day-to-day existence, I seem to just want to “blob” and do nothing.

I am making an effort to break that habit, otherwise I will never accomplish a thing creatively.

Another issue, I think, is that we are now approaching the sixth anniversary of our move to the Possum Kingdom. I realized the other day that things that once struck me as quirky and new, now just seem like part of my normal life. Because of that, they seem less noteworthy and interesting. Of course, they ARE still interesting, but they, too, appear mundane when you look at them with the eyes of a resident and not a newcomer.

Comfort is probably not the best thing for a writer to feel if they want to be inspired to write! Inspiration comes from a sense of wonder, and that sense of wonder goes out the window when you feel settled into routine.

That is not to say that there is nothing new and wondrous that happens, just that one’s eyes and brain deal with it in a different way.

I cannot even blame any of this on winter doldrums; we are far from having them here this year. As the rest of the Northern Hemisphere seems to be freezing its collective asses off, we have been enjoying an absolutely delightful, and rare, “Spring in January.” We have been able to go out to walk the dogs in just a light sweater during the day and haven’t had a hint of snow since our white Christmas, which didn’t even last for more than a day or so.

No, the fault is entirely mine, but I will get back to my old ways now that I have accepted my weakness and put it behind me.

Ciao for now.

Randy

Happy New Year to All

Here we are, 2011 already! How is that even possible? It still sounds like a date in a Sci Fi flick, doesn’t it?  When I hear about something that happened in 1990, it sounds like it just happened yesterday, but that was 21 years ago now!

We Lofficiers, being the boring souls that we are, celebrated the new year by eating an early dinner (although a more festive one than usual), watching some telly and heading off to bed a full half-hour later than usual (10:30 instead of 10:00!) We didn’t even hear if there were celebrations outside at midnight, because the four of us (two-footed and four) were crashed out for the count; even the ever-vigilant Miz Peaches LaRoo). I guess we are officially into “old fart” territory now. I’m sure that Mom was awake in her little snug flat, but she never goes to bed before midnight anyway.

This morning, as we got up at the usual time for morning walkies (no sleeping in permitted by the fun police) there were a half-dozen revelers outside the bakery; clearly they had not JUST gotten up, and were still partying from last night. Ah, the young…

Another quiet day is planned here in the Possum Kingdom. I don’t even think we’ll have a Saturday morning market today, as my guess is that both the sellers and the buyers are mostly still asleep. We will go and have a quiet lunch with some visiting friends and that will be the extent of our festivities this year.

I wish all of you, my faithful friends and readers, a very happy New Year, filled with prosperity, joy and good health. May nothing evil or untoward touch your lives, and may you have the goodness and success that you deserve.

Ciao for now,

Randy