Monday, May 27, 2019

A Library in Québec & a French Translation of Love That Dog

Perhaps one doesn't think of a public library as thrilling...
but I WAS thrilled 
visiting the newly rennovated Bibliothèque Gabrielle-Roy 
in a lower, non-touristic section of hilly Québec City.
I found a French version of a favorite all-time book, 
Love That Dog, by Sharon Creech.

They totally changed the title. 
Translation is such a subjective art form. 
 They added illustrations. I did not prefer this.
The beauty of the non-illustrated original is 
in the words & the story.
They added borders & changed the location of the poem
"The Red Wheelbarrow".
I did not prefer this either.
The original book is pure & unadorned. 
The formatting & the white of the page 
work beautifully with the story, which is in verse.

Do read Love That Dog & you'll see!

(Like Jack in the story, I'm enjoying expressing my opinions!)

It's a beautiful book for adults, as well as for children.
 Poetry is the art form I least understood in school. 
The wonderful Miss Stretchberry, through Love That Dog
has helped me as an adult to understand more!
It says that Sharon Creech is an award winning author. 
But, unlike in the English version,
 it omits the information that she was a teacher. 
That is so important to this book! 
Love That Dog is used in many classrooms, 
along with her other books. It is about teaching,
finding one's voice, expressing oneself through writing,
feeling, learning, growing...

(See her website & her social media 
for more about teaching with her books.) 

My complaints aside, 
I'm thrilled that French language readers
have the chance to love this book by Sharon Creech
& that I found it at Bibliothèque Gabriel Roy in Québec!

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

La Tour Eiffel • Bon anniversaire! (edited re-post)


Above: I turned a corner in the 7th arrondissemnt
and caught my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower.

Today Paris is celebrating the 130th birthday 
of the Eiffel Tower!

This is a re-post from September 21, 2012 
with some changes in the original text.
"Qui aurait dit il y a 130 ans que La Tour Eiffel deviendrait le symbole de Paris?  
130 ans et pas une ride!" (Site: Paris à Sortir)


Paintings by Maurice Utrillo and Raoul Dufy.

From Chez Toi en France, a bilingual children's book.

 Delauney was obsessed by La Tour Eiffel, painting at least 30 versions. 
He appreciated it as a radio tower & symbol for global communication 
as well as for its beautiful design.
This book is in a series on arrondissements of Paris. 
Gorgeous watercolors are by René Oghia.

ABC de Paris: Découvrir la capitale est un jeu d'enfant           
by Raphaëlle Aubert
Minou, a children's book in English, illustrated by Itoko Maeno. 
Features many Parisian landmarks.
 9 images in the Paris Calendar by Cavallini & Co. 
feature the Eiffel. 

When I first went to Paris it seemed like a cliché, 
& I almost didnt visit it. 
But was thrilling. 
Far more original, complex , & magificent than I had imagined!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Fountain Pens in the 21st Century

For any one pleasurable tool or object that existed in the past, there are now gazillions. 
And so it is with Fountain Pens.

There used to be "A cup of coffee". Now, well, do you remember the scene in You've Got Mail where Nora Ephron inserts a little essay: "The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee..."   

I love drawing & writing with fountain pens & now I'm learning to hand letter and to practice my penmanship. 
I love the mechanics of fountain pens, the care & cleaning of fountain pens, the memories of my father's & my grandmother's fountain pens. I love the memory of my own first fountain pen. With the Schaeffer Cartridge Pen I only had to decide on a translucent color for the barrel (red, yellow, blue, green or clear). Blue or blue-black ink. The simplicity!

These days I spend a lot of time looking at varieties, varieties & more varieties. There's a whole vocabulary in "The Fountain Pen Community":  "Piston filler", "converter", "hard starts", "work horse pens", "wet writers", "holy grail pens", "feedback"... There are conventions, penmasters, online "Rock Stars" (Brian Goulet, you know who you are), reviews, comparisons, instructional videos...

Bricks & Mortar pen stores are scarce. I've been known to travel to Boston to The Bromfield Pen Shop just so I can actually hold & try a pen before buying it. 

There is a site called The Pen Habit, another called the Pen Addict.  I've learned online that there are people who own hundreds of pens. There are pens that cost tens of thousands of dollars. 

I try to keep my pen "hobby" manageable, but the pens online do call to me, with their pretty colors & smooth flowing inks. And, as with so many products now, there is the promise that there is one more pen out there that will be even more perfect than any I own... that sparkling new pen that will change my life forever! 

For other posts I've made that include pens, click on the label, "fountain pens".

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Mornings in Paris: A Delicious Memory

In Portland there used to be a most adorable, friendly & FRENCH café called 
Mornings in Paris. 
To see a post I made in 2012 about my old favorite café, 
click here.

The lovely & gracious  French owner, Isabelle,
eventually moved the café to Kennebunk.

One time we drove down to see her, but she wasn't there. 
So I spontaneously wrote her a letter in French 
with a little observational sketch & left it with the barista. 

I just learned online that she sold the business in 2017 to a British couple...
she is spending more time in France...
The only certain thing in this world is change, they say. 
But I don't always like change...

...Sketch souvenirs help. 

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Rose Windows

 My first visit to Paris: 2003.
And my first conscious travel journal, 
with encouragement from my French teacher at
The Language Exchange in Portland. 

Never EVER could I have imagined the complexity,
the grandeur, the art, & the spiritual feeling of
Notre Dame de Paris!
In 2003 I broke down & cried before one of the rose windows,
for its beauty.
In 2019 I cried  to see Notre Dame de Paris in flames.

My 2003 journal sketch of the window is rough & inaccurate.
And along with my notes, private.
But spending extended time in the cathedral was sweet,
& the journal pages bring the experience back.

Recently I've been making ink drawings based on photos. 
But the photos seem to be only a point of departure.
During that 2003 visit, one of my companions said
that the windows are like giant mandalas. 
That & more.
Let us hope that they & the cathedral 
will be restored for future visitors.