Pic of the day – Plus simple que les feuilles tombé (M’Histoire)


Pardonnez-moi si je parle de temps en temps en français. Merci.

I keep setting myself deadlines. That could (but I hope won’t) be used
as a tagline on my tombstone. Each time I’ve been seriously ill I’ve
fought against being ill, being weak, not finishing things I “needed”
to do, and gotten weaker and weaker, in more and more pain until
finally I gave up. I would give up, and lay there, either numb or with
thin tears trickling from one eye, figuring I was going to die and
that it would just have to be alright. Someone would take care of the
kids. God would provide somehow. Trust in the process. And then,
voilà, a few days later I would start to get better, faintly and
slowly, but in very small ways, I would find I had a spark of interest
in something, a tiny fragment of energy, just a bit more vitality than
I had the day before. It would be months, sometimes years, before I
would really come all the way out of it, but that would be the turning
point, that moment when I quit fighting.

Today I was working on a slide presentation. I know. I’m on leave. I’m
at home, recovering from surgery. Yeah, I get it. But I haven’t been
able to get this done at work, and it is partly personal. A friend of
mine died of ovarian cancer at the beginning of ovarian cancer month.
I wanted to do a kind of tribute piece in memory of her, and thought
it would be wonderful to do an exploration of how people with ovarian
cancer use social media and online community spaces for information
and support. There are a lot of reasons why ovarian cancer is an
especially good topic for exploring this sort of concept, and it
became timely, with the Gladwell article provoking a lot of discussion about how social media is no
good for activism or social change. I wanted to finish the piece
during Ovarian Cancer month (September), but that slid by. Then I
wanted to finish it by the one month anniversary of my friend’s death
(October 5th). Then I thought, well, ovarian cancer is often
associated with breast cancer, and October is breast cancer month, so
I can finish it during October and that will make sense. That didn’t
happen either. So I really really wanted to finish it today, for the
2nd month anniversary of my friend’s death. What a shock today must be
for her family. Long enough away that people who aren’t close start to
move on to other things, and close enough that for family the ache
just now starts to really grow sharp edges. I can’t do it, though. I
really tried, but i can’t do it.

I’ve been working on this for a couple months now, almost, give or
take a couple days. I think it will be good when I get it done. Right
now, tho, I’m not healing the way I should. I keep having pain
management issues. The docs gave me a refill on pain meds to get me
through the weekend, but oddly, once I realized that I actually had
enough meds and didn’t have to scrimp anymore, I realized the pain is
a lot worse than I’ve been letting myself realize. I don’t know if
this is normal or if something is wrong. My son said I should call the
hospital, which I did. First, when I got the refill, and then two more
times later. Unfortunately, it must be one of those crazy nights at
the hospital, because I didn’t get the return call from the doctor.
And I have enough meds now, so I can tough it out overnight and try
calling again in the morning.

Meanwhile, my friend Cathy sent me a couple French music videos. I had
started a little playlist of chansons a while back, but never got very
far with it. I studied French for many years in school. I used to be
so fluent in it that I dreamed in French, kept my diary in French, and
would stumble trying to remember how to say something in English. I
particularly loved French music, at least until it started imitating
American music. Ten years ago, having the luxury of living in Ann
Arbor, with the flagship Borders store and an exquisite music import
section, I started trying to buy French music again. Unfortunately, I
didn’t know the current pop singers, and every CD I bought was a huge
(read **HUGE**) disappointment. I asked friends from Paris for advice,
but they were hesitant to recommend anything when they heard I didn’t
fancy Jean-Jacques Goldman. So I bought Mexican albums, and Brazilian,
and Japanese, and other parts of the world, but filled any desire for
French music with Cajun or Quebecquoise (which are both lovely and
wonderful, but not Parisian in the slightest, n’est-ce pas?).

So tonight, hurting and a bit depressed, I started listening to the
songs Cathy sent me. I loved them. Youtube showed suggestions of other
singers and songs. I prowled. I floated. I stumbled into a few
performers who made the mistakes of the Goldman album (too flashy,
formulaic, artificial, over-orchestrated, over-produced, over-staged)
but most of them were astonishing. A few weeks ago I was in a little
mini-workshop talking about how Youtube has taught the viewing public
what REAL authenticity looks like, and to expect it. Fake it out, real
is in. The videos I was finding had a bit of a common style to them,
but the style was to be as real and casual as you could be at the same
time you were being highly competent. The videos were like a model of
what I’ve always loved in my favorite music. Small, intimate,
acoustic, casual, heartfelt, quirky, clever, honest. It felt like
coming home. All they did (rather all they seemed to do) was set a
camera on a table, sing their songs, and have fun. Merveilleux.
Vraiment. Voyez-vous.


En Français (playlist)