Fall harvest in La Drôme - With Enthusiasm!

"The Greeks understood the mysterious power of the hidden side of things," wrote Louis Pasteur. "They bequeathed to us one of the most beautiful words in our language––the word 'enthusiasm'--en theos--a god within. The grandeur of human actions is measured by the inspiration from which they spring. Happy is he who bears a god within, and obeys it." poppyI chose "harvest" as the ending title for “Summer in la Drôme,” because, during my stay there, I lived in the fields of my imagination, where I planted and nurtured what grew into 116,297 words of my new novel MELISSA. I’ve brought the results, my harvest, back to America to sell in the publishers marketplace.

I chose Louis Pasteur's quote on enthusiasm because I would never have finished MELISSA if I hadn't obeyed my “en theos” who supported me through the days when no words budded or worse they died on the vine, and who celebrated with me on the days when words burst forth into colorful and loquacious blooms.

I chose the butterfly and poppy images because the enthusiasm of nature is the source of our own and it's contagious. In a sliver of Brazilian forest only a few miles square, scientists have counted more than 1,500 species of butterfly. And the poppy when coupled with another poppy and given seven years and the right conditions will produce 820 thousand million million million descendants. That’s enthusiasm!!!

News to follow on Melissa's publication date. First I must complete the third draft come Spring. So from now on my blog will be about the writing life. Well, not entirely. I am pulling up my Manhattan roots, deeply grown down under for thirty years. It isn’t easy to get out of New York, it takes a lot of enthusiasm, but it’s something I’ve wanted to do for some time.

If you would like to learn more about enthusiasm I recommend "Exuberance: The Passion for Life" by Kay Redfield Jamison from whom I cite in the above text.

 

Tour de France Races thru la Drôme

8472146-13268192-thumbnail kangaroobikerwithtongueToday I'm letting the Big Boys take over on the bike trail.  After riding already for sixteen days these guys are not slowing down as they pass nearby on their way up into the Alps going over 25 miles per hour.  Three days from now they will reach Alpe d'Huez (6000 feet), which is 370 miles from here.  How about that for fortitude! kate and I wavingI'll be watching them on television this year as we are having a bit of winter weather and it is not conducive to picnics on the grass.  These pictures were taken two years ago when I last watched them whiz through la Drôme with my sister Kate Hudson.

#5 Bike Lesson in Provence-Alpes

goat quote"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a well preserved body but rather to skid in sideways thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "What a ride!" Today's lesson was difficult! I just couldn't find the energy to pedal up the final hill and had to stop. Looking down on the goats who felt as enthusiastic as I did reminded me of this anonymous quote I use to get going.

I got back on my bike and pedaled hard and when I reached the top of the hill, I loudly proclaimed, "What a ride!"

#3 Bike Lesson in Provence-Alpes

La Boulangerie at 7:30 a.m. At 6.45 a.m. I was snuggled in bed reading "Hunters and Gatherers" (great summer read) and I didn't want to take a bike ride. It was sixty degrees outside and that meant it'd be cold on my ride until the sun came over the canyon wall. And then I remembered it was Sunday. On Sunday I reward myself at the boulangerie with pain de chocolat, tarte framboise (rasberry), and croissants along with the baguette.

Spring water

After a slow start, I whizzed down the canyon, as if it was a ski slope, relieved each time I drove through a sun-patch. On my return, the phrase "one step at a time" came to mind though this was one pedal at a time. I found that it helped if I looked down at just what was in front of me, the pebbled road, and shaded my eyes with my cap so as not to look ahead at the steep incline, a vision that filled me with discouraging words.

One Step at a Time

So today's bike lesson was that when you have something that you really want to do, actually love to do, but it's really hard (most things you want to do are hard!) - to reach your ambition you take one step, and then another, stay in the present, and don't look too far ahead.

#1 Bike Lesson in Provence-Alpes

Yes, I'm back on my BLOG and want to thank my sixteen loyal followers for not deserting me.  I'm really gonna get the hang of blogging this time around.  That is when I'm not working on the first draft of my new manuscript, a contemporary novel entitled MELISSA. For my blog content, besides continuing my articles on self-publishing and the writing life, I'm going to write about my life in La Drôme and am starting with the lesson I learned pedaling my bike today. I have promised myself to ride a bicycle on Tuesday, Thursdays and Sunday mornings and BLOG on the same days.  It takes around 10 minutes to pedal on a one-lane road to the boulangerie, 2 minutes to buy the local newspaper, Le Dauphiné, and a still-warm-from-the-oven baguette, then 30 minutes to return home.  Why the difference?  Because I live in a canyon and it is downhill going and uphill coming back.

This morning as I was pedaling up one of the many steep hills, I found it almost impossible to continue and I consider myself in good shape - elliptical three times a week in my Manhattan gym plus up and down subway stairs daily.  I remembered my daughter Amie, who is a physical trainer, telling me that I must "Push!" myself.  So I did.  I stood up off my bike seat and pushed as hard as I could.  But I hardly moved.  And then 'I got it!'.  I had accidentally down shifted into first gear.  Once I realized my error and shifted into fifth, I moved forward.  It takes a while to get the hang of riding a bike again.

My ride today reminded me so much of my writing life that I thought I'd share it with you:  It's thrilling to go downhill with the wind in your face and not a care, but it takes great effort to climb back up the hill later.  There are days when words come easy and it's lots of fun but there are those uphill days when no words show up on the blank page.  I just have to stay with it, knowing that if I practice writing everyday I'll push myself through those uphill days and finish my new manuscript by the end of the summer.

I'd like to share also that while I'm riding my bike past fields of just-harvested hay and fields of brilliant orange poppies and purple lavender (I'll take a picture on Thursday so you can see too) I am writing a thousand explosive words in my head.  That is the impetus to hurry home and write them down before I forget!

That's it for now as Melissa's story is waiting to enfold and I have to write a chapter before I can give myself permission to take an early evening walk.