Une garçonne sur la Garonne

photo by pierre planchenault at festival chahuts

photo by pierre planchenault at festival chahuts, bordeaux. june 18th, 2012.

obligatory blogger apologizing for not blogging intro phrase.

just kidding! i earned some well-deserved time off this month. time off from my job, from my beautiful neighbourhood that is populated with one too many jackhammers, time off from “the real world.”

june has been good to me. i hopped across the atlantic into the arms of my love who was all the way in bordeaux, france. simon was presenting some of productions rhizome‘s work at festival chahuts, and we decided to take time for some adventures of our own, too. we met some amazing people while admiring the sights in pamplona, bilbao & la baie d’archachon. i impressed people with my comfort in french and english, prompting many people to make all kinds of wrong guesses on where i’m from. spanish? italian? cosmopolitan globetrotter? one french parent and one canadian parent? nah, just your regular québécois-abénaki-military brat mess of a person with francophile leanings.

photo of simon and julia by annie lafleur

photo of simon and julia in bordeaux by annie lafleur

little snapshots of my daily life here were captured on film, by new friends digital cameras and scribbled handwriting onpostcards. i’ve been letting the digital aspects of my life fall more and more to the wayside these days, and i must admit it’s been doing me some good. this is due, in part, to the death of my laptop (ironically timed just after i wrote the line “i’ve had this image saved on the three computers i’ve owned over the course of the past decade” in my last post) but also to the fun of getting wrapped up in the real world. i’m not yet a member of the constantly-connected cell phone brigade, but just the feeling of being disconnected from my cumbersome laptop has changed the way i spend my days. [sidenote: back in may i even made a tiny zine about attempting to change my internet habits, so it was nice to put those things into practice in a more concrete way.]

a photograph of some postcards

some of the postcards i sent off to friends and family while in bordeaux.

that said, i was still constantly thinking about the stories and ideas i wanted to share with my readers. scrawled in my tiny travel notebook are notes like, “how wierd is it to fit in, style wise, in a city i’ve never been to before, thousands of miles from where i was born and raised?” it’s funny how, with the exact same wardrobe, haircut, and body one can stand out so much in your hometown and blend in in a city you’ve never been to before. another note, scrawled in all caps was “interview old french men about why they are so much more dapper and stylish than north american men!!!” unfortunately i didn’t interview anyone (journalist on vacation!),  but i did admire men in tweed biking around the cobblestone streets of bordeaux. i’d be lying if i said i didn’t find it tempting to make sweeping generalizations about French people based on my ten days in Europe, though.

my vacation wasn’t entirely spent people watching and idea percolating – i did end up reading for pleasure more than i have in years. while waiting in airport lounges, i read my fair share of tattered copies of french newspapers but was also quite happy to have good books and magazines with me along the way.

recommended reading:

Mythologies by Roland Barthes, specifically “The Writer on Holiday” essay:

What proves the wonderful singularity of the writer, is that during the holiday in question, which he takes alongside factory workers and shop assistants, he unlike them does not stop, if not actually working, at least producing. So that he is a false worker, and a false holiday-maker as well. One is writing his memoris, another is correcting proofs, yet another is preparing his next book. And he who does nothing confesses it as truly paradoxical behaviour, an avant-garde exploit, which only someone of exceptional independence can afford to flaunt. One then realizes, thanks to this kind of boast, that it is quite ‘natural’ that the writer should write all the time and in all sorts of situations. First, this treats literary production as a sort of involuntary secretion, which is taboo, since it escapes human determinations: to speak more decorously, the writer is the prey of an inner god who speaks at all times, without bothering, tyrant that he is, with the holidays of his medium. Writers are on holiday, but their Muse is awake, and gives birth non-stop.

Causette – a sassy French magazine that’s similar to Bitch Magazine here in North America. i had to buy it after browsing it at a friend’s house and reading a shocking article about how France has repealed sexual harrassment laws. terrifying to say the least. on a nicer note, how refreshing it to buy a magazine that says “le poids des femmes” (the weight of women) but isn’t talking about pounds or fat, but instead political clout? can i get a fuck yeah?

i also finished a few fiction books i had on the go, namely oryx & crake by margaret atwood. if you’re interested in what i’ve been reading, i’ve been sharing a lot on goodreads these days. i’ve also spent the last week catching up on great articles published during my downtime. if you’ve seen (or written) anything you think is up my alley, please leave links in the comments.

i’ve got lots of other stories and suggestions to share from my time overseas, but i hope that satiates your appetites for now!


Filed under currently, digital/online culture, personal, Uncategorized

9 responses to “Une garçonne sur la Garonne

  1. peggy!
    everyone is reading margaret atwood in the summertime. nothin’ like sartorial feminists curling up with some dystopias.
    also you & simon look so sweet together. duh!

    • what should i read next? i still haven’t read the handmaid’s tale… but what are your favs?

      also! did you hear they are making a film of alias grace?! and that sarah polley is going to be directing it?

  2. Nice to know what you were up to/that you had fun while you were away!

  3. I love the look on your face in the first picture! also is simon wearing a shirt with himself on it ’cause it kinda looks like it? It sounds like france was fun, I would love to go back and get to experience it as an adult. ❤

    • part of what made my visit so awesome was it felt like my very first time in france, but so familiar all at once. i lived in germany for 4 years as a kid and haven’t been back since. i’d love a trip to europe with my sisters if we can ever make that happen… hopefully in a decade or so. if you ever go to france let me know and i can suggest some things i know you’d enjoy!

      also it totally is a shirt with simon on it! but as a masked crusader. his friend carole lataste drew it. she co-runs a great bookstore/artspace called n’as qu’un oeil but it doesn’t look like their website is up right now…http://naqu1oeil.com/ anyway, she is awesome!

  4. Firstly, google chrome has decided that some of the content here is ‘insecure’ and I can’t see the first two pictures. 😦
    Secondly, I love this: “interview old french men about why they are so much more dapper and stylish than north american men!!!”
    And it sounds like you had such a great time. I would love to do a big Europe trip one day but I decided I needed to grace Canada with my presence first 😉
    And your Goodreads feed is definitely inspiring me to try to get back into reading more (I mean, I have over 100 books in my house that are unread! It’s ridiculous).

  5. Now that’s a real magazine! haha, sounds like an interesting trip 🙂

    • My daughter, closer to your age, alerted me to your blog before your garçonne/Garonne trip. I too have a blog, that blends clothes with French and feminism, and I too was on the Garonne, further upstream though, in Toulouse. Am enjoying your posts!

  6. Kat (Juni)

    I’ve awarded you with the Very Inspiring Blogger Award here: http://thelittleseawitch.net/?p=1108

    You’re not required to participate or anything- I admit it’s all a little silly, but fun- but I wanted to let you know!

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