Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Can Run But I Can't Hide

I've gone on and on in this blog about how I can't stand to be in L.A. because I have thirty-two years of memories of my life with Mr. Ex. It's hard to admit it, but he owns a big chunk of France, too.
France has 100 villages it has designated as its most beautiful and I am currently living in one of them. This past Sunday, I visited another. In my four trips to France with Mr. Ex, we visited two others. That's a nice even split, I suppose. Two beautiful villages for me. Two for him. Except it's hard to possess a village. And so it seems with all of our "assets." There are accounts held in a Trust. Farmland that can't be sold. Accounts that don't mature for years whose funds are unavailable. His capitol account in his law firm doesn't seem to be real either--just some ego-stoking figment that can't actually be turned into cold hard cash or cold hard anything.
If I could live those years of my life over again, I wouldn't invest in any of it. Investing in the future, if you'll "pardon my French" is a bullshit lie.
Invest only in love. When it's gone, there will be nothing to divide.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I see London, I see France, I see Jamie's....

There are various perks to being at a writer's residency. At the Virginia Center for the Arts they change your sheets, bring you fresh towels, vacuum your room, and clean your bathroom. At Vermont Studio Center, there's a serene meditation chapel open 24-7, and wonderful guest writers who preside over small group seminars. Both the VCCA and VSC have talented chefs who lay out dinner each evening in a cozy dinning room where you can hobnob with your fellow artists. People usually come to the table itching to socialize after being holed up in a studio all day writing or drawing or painting or sculpting or composing. It's easy, during a month long residency, to make a new friend or two or if you're an extrovert, maybe even a dozen.
It's different here in Auvillar.
There are only three of us. All writers. We are responsible for our own cooking (except at the Wednesday group dinners) and we share the housekeeping duties in our ancient stone house. We do our own laundry and we don't have a clothes dryer.
So we get to see one another's undies.
I have un petit inferiority complex now...lingerie and writing. http://web.mac.com/jamiecatcallan/iWeb/JamieCatCallan/Home.html
One of these days, I'll have a book and a website. Vraiement! And better underwear.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Writers' Odysseys

An "emerging" writer like myself can benefit immensely from receiving a fellowship to a writers' residency like the one here in Auvillar http://www.vcca.com/programs.html. The opportunity to write most of the day, or all day and even into the night is harder to come by in ordinary life. And being in a new environment in a foreign country changes one's perceptions. New ideas for stories are sparked by being in a new place. If you're someone who can't get away for an entire month, or a writer who wants more of a workshop environment, there's Astra Writing in Greece. I went last spring and it's even better than it sounds.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Life is weird. I know this because I'm a writer and I like to write the weird things down so I remember them. These notes might spark an idea for a story. And the weird things--coincidences, juxtapositions, etc. happen more often than one might think.
I'm living in France for a month and today I began work on a short story called La Voleuse. It's written in English, but set in France and has a French title and a French word employed here and there. I wanted to check the spelling of the word, 'voleuse.' I meant to pick up my French/English dictionary, but I mistakenly picked up my thesaurus instead. An old Valentine's Day card from my husband fell out. Not so weird, but the message on the front of the card was in French. Je t'aime, it said which means, "I love you."

Sunday, September 20, 2009


I like things tidy. When I lived in a big house with Mr. Ex, I pruned trees and roses, shaped shrubs, and deadheaded anything that bloomed so there were no spent flowers with drooping heads.
A couple of times year I unleashed my inner neatness nazi on Mr. Ex's study. I pawed through piles of papers, stacks of magazines, books and documents rising up from the carpet like stalagmites. I threw away the Burger King receipts and the old church bulletins, organized things that would be needed at tax time and filed away household paperwork. When I found un-cashed checks that were out of date, I made phone calls and got them replaced and later hurried the replacements to the bank.
I'm still working for Mr. Ex.
Here in the tiny village of Auvillar where I'm supposed to be writing a collection of short stories set in France, I'm emailing my attorney and pouring over the details of life insurance policies and investment accounts. Then the attorney and the financial guy email me back with questions and I have to think about how to wield the giant pruning shears that divides joint assets.
I want it to be tidy.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I'm feeling the tragedy of it all. The fallen. The woman beyond grief.
If a marriage has to end, it shouldn't end like this.
I'm in Paris writing my thesis while short stories spin in and out of my head. But there are even more words flying through cyberspace between me and my attorney. Me and Mr. Ex. Me and the sweet financial guy who's helping me understand how to divide what can be divided.
A battle.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


I am not a patient person. I try to be. But then I lose patience with trying. And with the people who try my patience.
Airports inspire me to forsake patience. All those planes roaring upward and people going off to everywhere.
Some travelers buy travel insurance. I send emails. Definitive ones. This is This. That is That.
So this morning at Baltimore Washington International Airport, I emailed Mr. Ex and told him I am rescinding my offer for settlement.
Out of patience.
Maybe a big divorce trial will be fun. Exciting. Exhilarating.