top of page

Email Notes

13 February 2019

There are times, on a rainy Wednesday such as this one, when the rain and gray skies become overwhelming. And the Day Off from translation that I’d promised myself goes out the rainy-day-window.

Dear Husband was at his office job in Sacramento; he received some email updates from me on my job in the Sierra Nevada foothills. The following is a running commentary that gives sights and insights into my process of writing, translating, and thinking during the composition of Chapitre 23:

To Dear Husband:

Cold and wet here. The warmth of the morning is gone!

Propane tanks being filled today. Chance is on the small sofa barking. I am doing translation.

To Dear Writer-Wife:

Very dark, cold and rainy here. The clouds have sucked all the warmth away. I hope his barking is not too distracting. The sad part is it isn’t even our propane tank!

Stay warm!!

To Dear Husband:

Oh, it was a real gathering of the trucks! The propane truck was here, a delivery truck, and the mail truck!

Chance has calmed down. He ought to be exhausted. I am figuring out if I still know how to say “tip your hat” in French (incliner le chapeau). Hat etiquette seems to be an old custom!!!


I know that I used the word — satchel — in THE DAWN to try not to say “suitcase” too much. It’s now a Britishism for school-bag, which a satchel clearly was not during World War II! I’ll have to change “satchel” in the English version of this chapter.

I really can’t wait until I get to Book 4 and try to tackle the “duffel bag” of Artur!

Try to avoid one problem in English and you get 3 in French!!

Sacoche — is a saddlebag (horse). I will remember that one!

To Dear Writer-Wife:

That is a lot of business for a rainy day. And yes, that tank in front belongs to the neighbor.

At least you figured out the “tip your hat”! That is progress indeed.

To Dear Husband:

Now that I know the fedora that Pierre Richarde wears is a “Borsalino” made in Italy, I guess tipping the hat is “vieilli” along with wearing one!

I guess Jean Moulin wore a Borsalino too!

Oh gosh, phrases and expressions that I learned 30-40 years ago are now considered old-fashioned (un peu vieilli) by Word Reference.

Very bad for any language to consider some standard 20th century terms as almost archaic!

I am glad that I have insisted on using them!!!! Very Victor Hugo!

To Dear Writer-Wife:

I am glad too. You have a duty to keep some of these phrases alive! And they are much better than the so-called modern versions — what does Word Reference know anyway?

To Dear Husband:

Word Reference knows every literary term that I automatically use and then double-check and find out that I am often more accurate than they! I really know the “dated” literary words!

My Friend in Provence knew that I know the real French of the post-WWII era. Without realizing it, I was schooled in that school of French thought by French exiled to America!

I am having to go back into the first few chapters for descriptions used in this chapter (23) and I see the details are very sparingly given. On purpose. The pace of the novel really was set just right in the beginning, and then it develops with more speed and depth and detail.

I knew what I was doing!!

Let us hope, Dear Reader, that I continue to know what I am doing, on this rain-soaked day, and every day!


bottom of page