Hi everybody ! When you read this article, I’ll be a bit more northwards, in a slightly weird land, where men wear kilts and sometimes nothing under them. What a cliché, you’ll tell me, and you’ll be right, but please let me dream. I’m thus for the week in Edinburgh, as part of a press trip I’ll tell you more about in the coming days, I fully intend to narrate our adventures as they happen, I am leaving in good company: I say we’ll enjoy big time.
And, height of coincidence, I had chosen to announce today an English version for Pensées by Caro. Wait, not a shabby translation from Google, no no no, but the fruits of a huge amount of work from Aurélie Lasherme, a perceptive and tenacious young woman, who, turning her nose up at my indecisive temperament, clung to the project and has been working on my texts for months. To be honest I hadn’t really thought of crossing the Atlantic or the Channel, not sure my writings could be interesting in English. But finally, on an enthusiastic proposal from Aurélie, I said: nothing ventured nothing gained, and if I too want to, one day, speak to you from “the studio”, I’ll have to turn to English.
All articles won’t be translated, but already, all the ones narrating my ‘Zermati’ journey and all ‘Minutes by Minutes’ are available plus several other articles. We’ll assess in a few months if we’ve hit the nail on the head and time will tell, basically.
In any case, a huge thank you to Aurélie and Frédéric who did a great job, I almost feel like Carrie Bradshaw…
At the risk of sounding slightly populist, I wanted to thank you for your enthusiastic participation in the contest yesterday. I’m always particularly moved when people show such an interest for books. And I’m quite proud that you are as full on winning a book as on winning beauty products.
End of the populist digression, here are the winners:
Comment 94, Plum’
Comment 12, Zouzou
Comment 166, Mmarie
Kindly send me an email, cfrancfr(at)yahoo.fr, with your postal address! Oh and while I’m at it, Xotchil, I haven’t received any email from you about French Disorder, can you send me one with your address, name of the product and size?
For the disappointed ones, Vincent Maston’s book is available in all good bookshops and here...
There you go, I’m leaving you with this pix of that DIY dessert I made yesterday in a few minutes, inspired by Géraldine’s trifles. I didn’t have custard and was too lazy to cook some so, basically, you have in these glasses strawberries, whipped cream, raspberries and, at the bottom, choc chips cookies roughly crushed. Actually it’s just the proof that the way a dessert looks can change how it’s perceived, my kids went into ecstasies and begged me to make some again, swearing it had NOTHING TO DO with a basic bowl of strawberries and Chantilly cream. Next time I’ll put crushed meringue and vanilla ice cream. I think I’ve just invented the unstructured Vacherin, call me Nono. (Top Chef private joke, sorry).
Ha and also, Orange is the new black season 2 has just been released and it gets off to a good start.
I don’t know if you remember but some time ago – two years already – I took part in the “New talent writing lab” organised by the Bouygues Télécom fundation. I had told days after daysthese fascinating classes given by Bruno Tessarech and slipped here and there a few snippets of these embryos of stories or of characters, born practically before our eyes. I’d have loved to tell you that after those sessions, my novel was finally finished, but alas my project stays undisturbed where it should be, in a land named Perfunctory Attempt. On the other hand, several of my classmates have ended up giving birth to real books, paper-backed and published.
Vincent Maston, – the first guy from the left, with the red sweater – since I want to talk about him today, is thus the author of “Germain dans le metro “, from which we were the first to know the first lines. I remember very well the description of this Germain that he had read to us and I remember telling myself that there was in this very precise and unfailingly regular style a little something from Jaenada (which coming from me is close to backslapping). I was then almost convinced we would hear from this strange boy, who in order to survive in this tough world has this unquenchable need to push people in the metro. Like a quiet act of revenge, an act of revenge on his peers’ pettiness, always prompt to make fun of his stammer or of their fellow beings’ weaknesses.
Germain is a kind misanthrope, a sensitive guy who likes trash rock, a bashful lover whose passion has chosen, too bad, his speech therapist, sadly not very gifted.
A slightly disillusioned hero, but never cynical, since he is driven by a permanent desire of justice, which leads him nonetheless to screw up nicely. I have been surprised by his romantic side, from what I saw from Vincent I was foreseeing a bit more vitriol, in reality he is a romantic boy and I don’t dislike it, since I’m crazy about romantic comedies. I’m not sure though that the next one won’t be darker, you can feel the author has some more in stock.
You’ve understood, it didn’t take me very long to read “Germain dans le métro” and I’m looking forward to the next step of this literature birth. Proof, if any, that you “can’t learn writing” but, sometimes, a few pieces of advice distilled here and there can be decisive, so thank you again Bruno, Céline and Dorothée…
If I’ve mentioned this book it’s also because the publisher is giving away a few signed, yes ma’am, copies (I don’t know how many right now but there will be more than one winner). Should you be interested, tell me in your comments, as usual, the Churros will give a lot of himself with his usual abnegation…
Two months and an half without touching a cigarette.
And the least you can say is that…it’s not really fun.
Namely, I’m desperately looking for positive aspects of the whole thing. Yes, right, there’s one. According to I don’t remember which app (I have installed a few on my phone, they congratulate me regularly with very nice pop-up messages, especially when they display when someone else is watching “CONGRATS, YOUR LIBIDO IS BACK AT IT’S BEST” (oh really?)), cilia in my lungs have started to regenerate. Alright it’s a bit like Florence Foresti’s sketch about pregnancy and pregnant women having nice cuticles. Hard to show off with my cilia.
But except from this – and my apparently brightening voice, still according to these highly informed sources – we are not far from a full house, full of troubles.
First of all, since we’ve reached the stage of telling each others everything, I don’t feel like a million bucks. I link panic attacks, insomnia and light-headedness, so much so I ended up with a holter strapped to my chest (if you’re hypochondriac and you know it clap your hand). For normal people – a good hypochondriac KNOWS – a holter is a device that record your heart during 24h in order to detect possible problems. Then I’ve been treated to an epic cardiac stress test during which I pedalled half naked, plug to twelve electrodes, while my friend Mimi who came to support me with what could have been my last show was in stitches (it must be said that my cardiologist is a character, cheering me up as if I were Poulidor, and making fun of me once my heart had proven to be absolutely fine (it didn’t prevent me from begging for an ultrasound, on the sole pretext of having taken Isomeride when I was a teenager). It’s only after making the national medical aid deficit worse with my own two hands and being kicked out my cardiologist’s room by him yelling “YOU ARE FINE!”, that I agreed to admit that I might be fine but probably also nuts.
In fact, it took me more or less one week to have my doubts about the results of these exams (what if they didn’t analyse properly the data from the holter? What if during those 24h my dumbass of ticker had just decided to keep a low profile, in order to mislead them?).
Thoughts that, said a bit to loud, have ended up leading me to that much vaunted “someone” everybody was advising – even begging – me to see.
Being a little bit discreet – lol – I’ll spare you from our discussion but it could be that it will take a while. Or how to be told clearly that all the weird sensations my body feels are only symptoms to which I must give meaning. My quitting smoking has most probably enabled to unearth a good old lot of compost which was patiently waiting, chilled, under the butts.
I’ll keep in mind this sentence nonetheless, it might help the ones who are in the same throes as me: “It is possible that quitting smoking is the entrance to the adult world. And entering is not that simple”. It is possible that the tears that rolled down my cheeks with these words mean that “someone” is on the right path.
Apart from that, I’ve obviously put on weight, not a lot but enough to be a pain – not literally, being self-proclaimed cardiac I’m having a break with my footings, but I haven’t given up totally.
As for my skin, yes, well, ok, I’m more fresh-faced. No one explicitly told me but I’d like to think that it nevertheless is blindingly obvious. Less than my acne, we agree.
You’ll say, at least, I’m saving money.
Which I will use to pay for my sessions with my “someone”.
In any case, I can’t help thinking I’ve had flair quitting right before summer. I could have spent my afternoons in a sexy bikini smoking on the beach, instead I’ll vape wearing a pareo… CELEBRAAAATION.
More seriously, I regret nothing – except to have started – I still sometimes crave for a puff but it goes away, I vape a bit sometimes but not a lot, I’m truly not a fan and it’s not for lack of having enriched numerous reseller trying to find a suitable clearomizer. All in all, if I didn’t have this slight issue of craziness, results wouldn’t be far from positive…
Last Friday Violette and I should have flown to Casablanca, to attend the music festival of Mawazine. Was it our karma? I don’t know but the fact remains that, after getting up at dawn, our taxi had a break-down on the highway and we waited for the tow truck for so long that the plane took off without us . Let me tell you that we were not best pleased. Hi we are Bridget of the blogosphere (I say, from now on people who will invite us will give us a departure time one day before the actual event’s day in order to make sure we will be there)
Despite all this, the week-end hasn’t been that spoiled, weather was amazing and my kids and husband were delighted to spend some time with me in the end (they didn’t explicitly say so but I ‘d like to think so).
Come on, a few likes for this disguised as Tuesday Monday… Read more »
Wednesday evening, we set out for a Southern region, very southern actually. For Taroudant precisely, also called the small Marrakech or the city of snakes. A well-kept secret, where mass tourism doesn’t exist. We took up residence in Dar Al Hossounriad, a marvelous oasis run by Thierry and Oliver, two Frenchies who love Morocco and who, it’s the least you can say, are very welcoming and know how to help you love their adopted country.
From Morocco, I knew only Marrakech, visited twelve years ago with our twins who were still very young, a stop in Essaouira was included in our stay. We loved everything, smiles, souk, medina, mosques, flavours. We promised ourselves to come back, soon, especially as our dear friend N. was living in Casablanca. And then that nasty illness, and then N., gone. And Morocco, like an almost holy land, a sanctuary.
A few years later, here we are again and with us, N., a little bit. Three days are short, but in the end it’s enough to smell the air and get confirmation that we’ll have to come back, without too much delay. As usual, I don’t pretend to give you an exhaustive minutes but here is what I retain from this gateway, in case you’d feel like escaping our how so French pessimism…
After spending half the day lazing around next to the riad’s pool, marveling at baby peacocks and mother turtles, we finally found enough energy to go out. Omar took us in a horse-drawn carriage around the town’s battlements, from the Casbah to the medina. If you can find Omar, truly, do not hesitate, he is amazing and knows the history of each stone, each street, each riad. It’s not impossible that he teams up with the apothecary from whom I bought half the shop right in front the Churros’ half alarmed half appalled eyes. But who cares, I loved Omar. Rose too.
The oldest battlements of Taroudant, 7km long in total, go back to the 15th century I think, but I’m not categorical. Today, some parts of the fortified town are nicely renovated, thanks to people from France and Belgium in particular who have built their houses within the fortifications. In some other places, you can feel that it is close to collapsing. But even the most dilapidated parts attire themselves at sunset in a magnificent amber colour, which makes the whole appeal and singularity of this small town… The dried wadi was the setting of the shooting of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves with Fernandel. Apparently, not one inhabitant of the town didn’t play in this blockbuster. A true group memory told and told again by the elders…
On the joint advice of Deedee and Violette, we went to Tifnit, a small fishing village with whitewashed houses gathered on the hillside. The walk turned into a camel ride (or dromedary, debate is still in full swing). A first for the kids and me. The churros was showing off like crazy since he mastered camel. Not sure we weren’t Tifnit’s star attraction, neither that just the thought of it doesn’t still make them laugh. Seriously, this place is unbelievable, timeless. I could have stayed for days, I believe, daydreaming in front of the small blue boats’ incessant comings and goings.
Then, we headed towards Ksar Massar, an incredible hotel, set on a dune, facing the sea. Let me tell you, I’m not ruling out ending my days there, in one of the suites with huge bay windows. I’d hurdle down the dune light and slender and I’d play, light-hearted, with the waves. Then, I’d fucking die climbing back this lousy dune.
I’m leaving you with a few pix, there will be more during the week with a French Disordercompetition into the bargain, you can see some of their tee-shirts here and there…
 TN : Fernandel was France top comic actor from 30s to 60s
Another disjointed article I’m afraid, not much time lately for long speeches, I think it will be better once I’m done with that big case I’m working on and which is an hassle, I’ve done about thirty interviews I need to now “log”, in other words decipher (literally, over the years my hand writing is closer and closer to hieroglyph). Then comes the worst part, writing, with my comings and goings from the couch to the balcony, without a fag on top of that, until I miraculously find this fucking first sentence, without which nothing is possible. My mind is thus a bit foggy, but here is some information I didn’t want you to miss.
1 – I think that with paleo diets we’ve finally hit (painted) rock bottom. I’m talking about this trend consisting in roughly eating only what our Australopithecus ancestors could find as hunter-gatherers. Raw if possible, of course (actually except for chicken curiously). I mean alright, it’s good, the whole locavore thing, it’s fine to come back to the essentials, etc. Personally I use as little ready made products as possible, I eat only seasonal vegetables and fruits – at the risk of not being able to stand cabbages anymore in April and fantasizing, yes FANTASIZING, about a tomato – and I try not to have to many exotic foods which use liters of kerosene before reaching my plate. But now raving about Paleolithic and excluding everything you couldn’t harvest at the time of the quest for fire, honestly, count me out. Especially that, in the end, it’s just another diet, with forbidden and authorized food, very strict instructions that are difficult to bear on the long run and thus generating an unavoidable yoyo effect.
Generally speaking, I find it very cute, this rallying for a world with less hyper-consumption. But I can’t help finding this fantasy about caves worrying, this delusion of a before that was so much better. May I remind that despite progress’ harmful effects, life expectancy is longer every year. I know we need to find solutions in order to save the planet from our foolishness and I’m prepared to some sacrifices. But I can’t believe our salvation lies only in such a regress, can I?
2 –Since we’re talking about food, I’m regularly asked where my plates come from, I admit I’m extremely proud of them, they are more or less the only thing I’d save in case of fire, indeed the rest is merely a gathering of student furniture and totally worn carpets. A reason behind this no decorating sense? Probably first of all the fact that we are not really interested, but also our will to move one day to something bigger and mostly something we own. So, we are not moving a muscle in the meantime. But given the property market in Paris, there are good chances that ten years from now we’ll still be living with our pieces of junk, sincerely convinced that when we’ll find something… in short, the change for us is not now, except for plates, thanks to my mother who thus orders them for me from this site, my Ali Baba’s cave, “Le panier d’Eglantine”. My two favorite brands are: PiP Studio and GreenGate.
3 – It’s currently ‘crazy’ days onMonshowroom until the 9th of May with up to 50% discount. If, by chance, you’d feel like putting an outfit on before going hunting, I have selected the following
Edit: A huge thank you for your votes from yesterday for “Ascendanse“, they sky rocketed in the rankings thanks to you, feel free to go if you haven’t already, or to buy tickets for the shows, in particular for Claire Moineau’s, my daughter’s teacher who’s an incredible dancer.
It’s been a while since I last mentioned Zermati, mindfulness and all the things that have helped me stop considering food as my best enemy. I’ve stopped the therapy three years ago now. I’ve been stable for three years, fluctuating sometimes by two or three kilos, without it being a source of absolute anxiety, without old obsessions relapse, promising myself I would fast for three days, banishing chocolate for life or daily lashing on the mode “I’m just a cow with no willpower”. I’m not going to lie to you, I’m not happy when my trousers get too tight and I’m still terrified by idea of putting on again one day that weight I’ve lost. But this thought is rather far, it doesn’t obsess me like before and doesn’t prevent me from going to the restaurant, enjoying a homemade cake or a finger diner. In short, I’m not sure I’m “cured”, but let’s say remission has lasted long enough for me to be relatively serene.
Now that this little preamble is finished, I thought it could be interesting to share with you Gérard Apfeldorfer’s point of view. He is a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist, and Jean-Philippe Zermati’s associate. At the occasion of the GROS’ congress this week, he gave me an interview in which he reminds us the basic principles of the method he and Zermati have established. Be aware that, next Saturday, there will be a session open to the public. The theme will be “Mangez en faim” and you can attend for free, register here. Knowing that it takes place in Cordeliers faculty of medicine, a place dear to my heart since it’s where my brother presented his thesis. A wonderful place with lots of history, if I weren’t myself on a business trip this week I would have gone for sure. I never have enough of listening to GROS’ speeches, as they turned my life upside down…
Gérard Apfeldorfer: The research group on obesity and overweight is an organization registered as a non-profit association in accordance with the French law passed in 1901 created fourteen year ago. The initial objective was essentially to gather health professionals who were dealing with obesity issues. We had in common being fed up with diets, which we considered as toxic and ineffective. The idea was to explain that weight issues don’t come only under dietetics. Originally, we were rather marginal. Little by little, numerous scientific studies that were showing mid and long term ineffectiveness of diets and their nuisances, namely ascending yoyo effect, eating disorders, self-esteem loss and depression, have ended up convincing the medical world, or least recognized specialist. So now the troop agrees with us! The association evolved in parallel developing alternative method to provide care for obesity and associated eating disorders. Now, we have something to offer.
Kindly sum up the method advocated by GROS. Do you have a way to prove its effectiveness?
Gérard Apfeldorfer: I think it must be made very clear that today there is no method that guarantee lasting weight loss. Research of all kind, genetic, neuro-hormonal, on intestinal microbiota, for example, are in progress but we can’t expect anything immediately. There is no miracle pill! The medical corps is globally resourceless, when the weight loss demand has never been so high. In this context, we have worked on an approach that allows us to help people differently, keeping in mind that we can’t promise results in every instance and that “success” of the therapy requires patients’ involvement, acceptance of spread over time work.
Our method is based on three lines.
The first one is about eating behavior and hunger and satiety sensations identification. These sensations are often totally disturbed by repeated diets and the cognitive restriction they’ve led to. In other words, by always controlling themselves, overweight people have absolutely no idea if they are hungry, what they feel like and when they must stop eating. Forcing yourself to follow dietary rules is contrary to the organism’ physiologic functioning. Several exercises enable our patients to start listening to their eating sensations, to stop demonizing food, including the most calorific, to discover their body’s wisdom as soon as they listen to it instead of brutalizing it. Often, they confess feeling liberated.
Second line, emotions. Eating doesn’t fulfill only physiological needs, but helps, also, with calming emotions, whether it is anxiety, boredom, anger, etc. This is part of cognitive behavioral psychotherapy. We use tools like cognitive therapy and mindfulness, which are very effective and powerful. The idea is not to fight emotions, they are part of us, but learn to accept them without them triggering desires to eat.
Finally, the third line is body. Overweight people often have a very negative perception of their body. It is the target enemy, the one that doesn’t want to obey or function as it should. It results in an internal fight between yourself and your body. Often it ends in an unconscious will to not feel this body, leaving it as still as possible. When you don’t move you don’t “feel” your body. To help with reconciliation, we use, here too, mindfulness techniques like “body scan”, that consist in visualizing each part of your body, to experience this body from within and really inhabit it. Then we encourage patients to start moving again, not with a weight loss purpose (sport doesn’t make you lose weight, at best it helps stabilizing your weight) but in order to be “gentle” with their body. I’m used to comparing this with a pet dog, which, if it always stays in a flat, becomes sad. If you take it to the park, plays with it in the open air, it is happy. The body needs this too. It can imply a bit of efforts, especially in the beginning, but without pointless suffering. The principle being that positive sensations prevail over everything else. It can also be achieved through massages, yoga, tai-chi, very soft exercises.
Is this method the one you use on Linecoaching, which you’ve created with Doctor Jean-Philippe Zermati? Do you have enough perspective to evaluate the results of this online method?
Gérard Apfeldorfer: Yes, on Linecoaching we use the same principles as in our doctor’s rooms. We have started a study together with two hospitals to try to analyse the results, but it’s still too early to draw conclusions. What we notice on Linecoaching is that people who take part in forums are more involved and show a real increase in well-being. Whether for face to face therapy or on Linecoaching, once again, this method requires patient’s involvement, it is not a recipe where the latter is made irresponsible.
Can we really expect personalized care from an online therapy?
Gérard Apfeldorfer: Yes! Studies show that online therapies are equal to similar therapies directly with a professional. Members of Linecoaching receive support from coaches, by email or on the phone. Jean-Philippe Zermati and I often organize chats to answer questions. Being able to participate in many online discussions on forums helps a lot as well. On these forums, people who went through the program already can support and advise newbies. The objective is to promote exchanges and dialogue to fight against the isolation overweight people can feel.
GROS’ yearly conference’s theme is ‘fears’ this year. What are these fears, how do they have an effect on weight and eating behavior?
Gérard Apfeldorfer: We indeed wanted to discuss the different fears that interact with our eating behaviors. They are more and more intense and numerous. There’s the fear to put on weight, of course, which results in general in weight gain, because it triggers restriction mechanisms that themselves result in compulsions. There is the fear to lack, very real for overweight people who anticipate and eat while they are not hungry. There’s finally the fear to eat incorrectly which leads to orthorexia (being obsessed by eating healthy), more present with people consulting nutritionists than in the rest of the population, but it is a widespread trend. We are afraid of poisoning ourselves, afraid of the effect our food choices will have in twenty or thirty years on our organism. Eating is not a restorative act anymore but a source of anxiety.
Is this fear justified, according to you?
Gérard Apfeldorfer : One thing is certain, it is less dangerous to eat now than one century ago, when intoxication risk was high because of toxic additives, dangerous cooking method, bad food conservation or bacteria that are almost inexistent today. I think that behind all current precautions, there’s this belief of being able to fight aging, even death, by only eating ultra healthy food. It’s a slightly useless youth quest, especially when it turns into obsession, and it wastes our present to protect us from the future.
Edit: I might not be very available this week, I’ll be in Lyon from tomorrow for a conference. Generally, it has been a bit crazy lately with work, it explains the slow pace on these pages, I sincerely hope it will slow down!
 TN: the literal meaning is “Eat with hunger” but it’s also a play on word with “Manger enfin” which sounds the same when pronounced and can mean “Eat at last” or “Finally eat”.
Yesterday evening was the first screening of ‘Parents mode d’emploi ’, for team members and a few guests. I managed to invite a few bloggers and, of course, el Churros was there to cheer me up. A nice evening, despite a few – rare?- embarrassing moments. Wanna hear?
15h01: Tonight is the big night, tonight is MY night, finally the whole world will discover that I’m the new Agnès Jaoui .
15h02: I’m wondering whatAgnès Jaoui would wear for such an occasion.
15h03: Agnès Jaoui, I don’t know about her, but I’ve kept aside for two weeks this new dress which is romantic scriptwriter like.
15h04: A bloated scriptwriter though.
15h04: For the trouble taken, I’ll buy a little something from Asos, I’ve been wanting to try girdle from Spanx for ages, hopefully when they’ll see my contact details they’ll send a messenger.
15h07: My fame as a scriptwriter hasn’t visibly reached them, I’ll receive my girdle only in three working days. It’ll be very useful on my couch. No way I’ll mention them in the interview Grazia will soon make of me.
15h09: Agnès Jaoui has never used her appearance as a major argument, I’m above all this. My tummy is above this too. Exactly ten centimeters above my panties.
15h10: I try to remember what I liked in this dress when I bought it, but right now in front of the mirror, nothing comes.
15h45: I send an email to the bloggers I’ve invited to warn them I’m bloated, so no stolen pictures please.
15h54: What if Judd Appatow calls me after the screening?
16h07: Let’s make things clear, I’m willing to go to the US to help Modern Family’s team find inspiration back. But they’ll have to pay. French school in LA costs a hell of a lot.
17h04: I’m wondering how the Churros will live through my fame.
17h08: I mustn’t forget to thank him first at the Emmy awards. He is my rock.
18h10: Or, I don’t go. Well, to the Emmy, yes, but tonight, no.
18h12: It’s not that I’m scared. Just that I feel like going for a mammography. Or a smear test.
19h14: The Churros is back from work, pizza for the kids is in the oven – they might as well get used to it, their life will change, having a mum in the cinema business, it’s like signing up for obesity – we can go now.
19h15: I ask the Churros if my dress makes my ass looks big.
19h16: “No, it’s not the issue”, he answers.
19h17: 16 years living together and he answers “No, it’s not THE ISSUE”?
19h18: He adds: “I get the idea but something’s wrong in this outfit.”
19h19: Like it’s the right time for the Churros to think he is Anna Wintour.
19h20: He can go whistle for my thanking him during the Emmy.
19h22: I understand now why Chouchou and Loulou haven’t survived the Oscars. It’s the price to pay.
19h23: If it’s the price to pay to play in George Clooney’s next movie, I’m not sure Anna Wintour will stay in my league for long.
19h28: The Churros is facing a dilemma. He’s asking himself if he should eat before leaving or rather save his appetite for cocktail.
19h30: I warn the Churros if he touches the kids’ pizza, he will really get the idea of my anger.
19h32: It’s time to leave and the Churros feels weak already.
19h45: The Churros is hungry.
19h55: We get out of the metro, the Churros asks me if we have time to grab a bite before we go.
19h56: the Churros doesn’t understand why I’m uptight.
19h57: Poor thing, I believe he is simply in denial, he doesn’t want to see that I’m no more no less than taking off. I’m wondering if I should organize a balloon release tomorrow. I think he needs to materialize my success and my emancipation. I remember in one of Desperate Housewives episodes, one of the girl did this to take in her miscarriage. Oh boy I cried. Maybe I’ve been touched by the writing grace at that particular moment?
20h00: everybody is waiting in front of the cinema, my blogger friends are there, I see pride in their look. I think I’ll invite them too for the balloon release.
20h10: We’re sitting in the chairs, the series’ team comes on stage. I’m a bit surprised, I’m not asked to join, of course we are about fifteen scriptwriter, but I believe we all agree there are “scriptwriters” and scriptwriter.
20h14: Anyway, does Sophia Coppola show off? No. What’s rare is expensive, I’ll stay rare. I’ll become short programs’ Greta Garbo.
20h16: The Churros asks everybody around him if they have already eaten.
20h17: Greta Garbo was gay, wasn’t she?
20h18: It’s about to start, my stomach is tied in knots like never, what if no one laugh? What if only the sketches I’ve written don’t make people laugh? What if…
20h23: Here we go, my fear disappears into thin air, laughs are everywhere.
20h25: Between Arnaud Ducret and Alix Poisson, something precious is happening, it’s called alchemy I think.
20h27: Can’t wait for one of my sketches.
20h34: Ah, this one maybe?
20h35: Ah no.
20h38: Ah, that one neither.
20h40: When I said Greta Garbo, I was actually thinking of the period when she was still acting not the one when she was gathering dust in an apartment with closed windows, huh.
20h45: Ok, it’s all fun and games but if I want the States to come looking for me, Caroline’s touch will have to be turned on at one point or the other. I understand they don’t want to frustrate others, but even the bests sometimes need to be on center stage.
20h46: The Churros asks me if the interval is coming soon, he is hungry.
20h48: Shut up I tell him, I think it’s a scene I’ve written.
20h49: not the longest but it was indeed mine.
20h50: I don’t want to jump to conclusions but I clearly heard more laughs than during all other scenes.
20h51: Or it’s the Churros’ stomach.
20h52: My heart’s rate is hitting 200 since I’ve heard my word acted on screen. I feel like I’m 14 again, guitar recital, alone on stage, my teacher behind the curtain, all these parents looking at me and then, painful blank, I’m unable to play a note. And suddenly, music rise anyway, when I understand it’s my teacher playing on my behalf behind the curtain, I pretend to be plucking the strings. I’ve just invented air guitar. And put a stop to a promising musician career.
20h54: Laughs go on, I think the team’s bet is a success. Actually the balloon release is right there, and the ones we’re letting take off are Isa and Gaby, and Laetitia too, Paul and Jules. These characters we have shaped little by little in our mini sketches have come to life, quite simply. They exist outside of us, almost, and it’s altogether terribly moving, slightly harrowing and totally exciting.
20h57: Last sketch and lights are back on already.
20h58: Thunderous applause.
20h59: Or it’s the Churros’ stomach.
21h00: « Hey, in fact, there was only one you’ve written, wasn’t there? » shouts the Churros (who hasn’t yet unfortunately died from malnutrition)
21h02: He doesn’t know it yet but he will watch Emmy Awards from Kremlin Bicetre.
21h03: Let’s hope no one asks which scenes were written by me.
21h04: “It was super, but which were scenes were written by you?” my blogger friends ask me.
21h05: Let me just keep it vague and say there are too many to list them.
21h06: Or maybe I should insist on the team dimension of the writing process.
21h08: Or I lie and I name the funniest.
21h09: With my luck, the girl next to me is precisely the author of the funniest scenes. And accessorily Angelina Jolie’s future best friend. I don’t know her but I can’t stand this bitch who will have it off with Georges on MY behalf.
21h10: when I’m about to find a vague answer to my blogger friends’ question, the Churros ends my suffering “There was only one, too bad huh! Right, let go eat?”
21h12: To comfort me, the Churros, who always finds the right words, reassures me: “No, it’s not about your texts being crap, it’s just that right now they wanted to show the funniest ones, you see?” Yeah I understand the idea, as Anna Wintour would say.
21h15: The Churros has preempted a buffet table and eats up conscientiously a charcuterie platter.
21h30: We gesture to him we’ll have a fag and then go.
21h31: “Go. I’ll join you”
21h45: It’s a bit cold, it feel like winter in front of the Parisian cinema. I realize that I’ve just attended the screening of a series in which I’ve participated. That I might not go to the Emmy right away, that I don’t really look like Agnès Jaoui and that indeed there was only one (or two?) sketches I’ve written in this screening. The truth is I’m in that boat and I wouldn’t give my place for nothing in the world.
21h48: On our way back, the Churros whispered in my ear “Did you see your name in the credits ? Because I did.”
Edit: More seriously, this short program will be broadcasted soon on France 2  just before the evening news (the date is not totally confirmed yet, but it could be after the autumn break) and I’m only one of the authors of this series directed by Béatrice Fournera and Paloma Martin y Prada. Thank you to both of them for their trust. I hope you’ll like them when you’ll see them, as soon as I have teasers I’ll show you. And for real, I promise, I’ve written many! (Did I mention the team dimension of the writing process?)
Yesterday, after procrastinating – for two years – I finally entered the nearby radiology center to get my first mammography screening. Wanna read about it?
15h14: Carte Vitale: check. Knickers in good condition: check. Waxed underarm: check (almost). My prescription… damn my prescription.
15h16: the appointment is in 10 minutes and I don’t have my prescription. Let’s focus and try to remember where I put it, on the 23rd of February, when for the third time my gynecologist drafted it for me, the first two were expired because I always had a swimming training on days with availabilities.
15h17: Now that most of the content of my « important documents » drawers (it’s the word “important” that matters)(of course, a list of Indians restaurants that deliver in Clermont-Ferrand is IMPORTANT) is on the floor of my living room, it’s much easier to find this f…… prescription, while if I don’t I can’t have my mammography done which is, well, my!… Tempting.
15h18: My prescription was sitting nicely in the box for worn out pens, the ones I swear I’ll throw away almost every week, but it’s a bit like stockings with runs in it, YOU NEVER KNOWS.
15h19: Come on, off we go, fear doesn’t keep you from danger and, in that very case, it might even be the contrary.
15h20: No but in reality this examination doesn’t worry me.
15h21: I am just shit scared.
15h22: On my way, I look at this avenue d’Italie with a completely fresh look. I mean, it could be that it is the last time I look at it in my previous life.
15h23: It’s so awesome, a phone shop.
15h24: I should phone my step-mother, all that bitterness could very well jinx me.
15h26: Calling my step-mother is harder for me than the possibility of finding something shady during the mammogram.
15h27: I am wondering if that makes me exceptionally brave or completely dumb.
15h28: I am right in front of the radiology center and oddly I feel very calm.
15h29: So calm that, for sure, it is a very bad sign. A bit as if I were relax when getting on a plane. It is definitely a DON’T. Everybody knows very well that fate always strikes when you are least expecting it. And now, with an external look, it is obvious that I seem to be the girl who doesn’t except to be stricken by fate. VERY BAD.
15h30: After practicing to be scared, my heart is pumping at 200 and my hands are sweaty. Now, I think it is fine, fate must be jaded. In your face fate, I am TOTALLY excepting your striking, if I were you I would leave me alone because it will be so uninteresting.
15h31: I can barely keep up with my logic, I think I am panicky, it’s a good omen. Just saying. Ahahahahahahahah !!! I am not crazy you know. What time is it Mrs. Postwoman? In your ass.
15h32: I just discovered mammography’s Tourette syndrome. Not so nice. Whore. Enough.
15h33: The receptionist requests my previous results. “It is my first one”, I reply, almost touched.
15h34: The lady absolutely doesn’t care that it is my first mammography, she severely recommend that I bring my previous results next time I come.
15h35: Maybe she is a boob whisperer, she KNOWS it is the first one of a long series.
15h36: All in all, I think I will go for my first idea of the day, cardio training, right now I CRAVE it. Even having a root canal procedure. It is cool, to have a root canal, I would give everything to have a root canal right now. Or a rectal examination. Yes please, a rectal examination. Or I call my step-mother AND I apologize.
15h37: The technician comes to fetch me, she is young and very pretty.
15h38: “Remove the top part of your dress, you can keep the bottom part on”.
15h39: I pull the top of my dress down but shoulders + breast don’t go through the neck. I ask the young lady if I can take out one breast after the other.
15h40: I do so as I’m asking the question. Suddenly, I see myself from outside (it could be that I am experiencing near-death) with my breast hanging out of the neck of my dress. I am just missing an old raincoat and I can scare kids in a park.
15h42: The technician thinks it won’t be practical and thus advise to remove the dress completely. “Next time, remember to wear trousers”. She too, she KNOWS.
15h43: In front of the machine, before I realize, my left breast is stuck between 2 glass plates. That’s when you realize that your 95C once pressurized looks like a 12 covers dessert dish.
15h44: Shots are taken and the technician comes back to grasp my right breast and put it through the same punishment.
15h45: While she’s there, she tells me that my breasts are super.
15h46: Admittedly I am confused. And a bit flattered. I mean, in a sense, this woman is a specialist. She sees some all day long, I would be surprised if she complimented all patients like this. On top of that she is stunning. Well, I am married and mostly straight, but today is the moment of truth, so I guess I’ll drop my conventional barriers. Life is short, oh my!
15h47: “Really, you think so? Well, after my last pregnancy, they slightly go…”
15h48: “Yes, yes, they are super for mammography: really flabby, really fat.”
15h49: I can’t recall what I saw in her
15h50: “Yes, for sure, it must be more complicated with small breasts”, I say this with a bit of contempt (The best defense is a good offense and, poor thing, she is as flat as a pancake).
15h51: “Oh no, size does not matter, there are big breasts that are very dense and firm! And in that case it is quite difficult to read the shots whether when it is fibrous and fat like y…”
15h52: OK, I GET IT.
15h53: My right slab of butter gets its share of rays too.
15h54: The technician comes back and she is not really smiling anymore. She asks me to go back to the dressing room. « But don’t put your dress back on, please wait for the doctor, she will explain».
15h55: is it me or something happened between the moment when we were chitchatting about my awesome breasts and when finally “I don’t put my dress back on and the doctor will talk to me”?
15h56: I WAS NOT EXPECTING ENOUGH TO BE STRIKEN BY FATE. HOW STUPID CAN I BE, I LOWERED MY GUARD AND BANG, FATE
15h57: If I‘d call my step-mother from the changing room, could it possibly tip the scales in my favour?
15h58: I shouldn’t have left my job.
15h59: Sometimes I steal from my daughter’s piggy bank to buy cigarettes.
16h00: I WON’T DO IT AGAIN, I PROMISE, I WON’T DO IT AGAIN.
16h01: Someone gets me out of that cubby hole or else I’ll start to act irrationally.
16h02: Like tearing off my toe nails for example. YES I DO THAT TOO.
16h03: A knock on my door.
16h04: A slightly older lady, not wearing a coat, asks me to follow her: “We’re going to do an ultrasound.”
16h05: On the prescription, it does not say I have to have an ultrasound done. They are making the decision to do an ultrasound on their own. THEY ARE MAKING THE DECISION TO DO AN ULTRASOUND ON THEIR OWN. Ok, give me five minutes, I AM GOING TO CALL MY STEP-MOTHER, GOT IT, GODDAMN!
16h06: “What you are saying is surprising because your assistant just told me that with breast as greasy as donuts like mine one don’t need to do ultrasound, ‘cause one can easily see if something’s wrong, so I confess, I am a bit worried now.”
16h07: “Yes but I prefer to double check”, so says the very professional looking, not wearing a coat, lady.
16h08: I want my mummy.
16h09: My breasts are covered with gel and I remember last time I saw gel like this was to check on Rose’s little face in my belly. Life is a dirty bitch. She gives, she gives and then without warning she comes and takes it all back.
16h10: The lady asks me if I have kids and if I breastfed them.
16h11: I find myself answering yes with the same proud of a good student’s who has learnt German declensions. I am not sure though it is great to ask that question at this particular moment. I mean, what if I didn’t breast feed? It would serve me right, here is what you reap madam, you should have thought about it earlier?
16h12: I am in a conqueror mood. When I am out of here, I’ll write an opinion column to Le Monde or Libé on this subject. I WILL NOT BE HUSHED UP MADAM.
16h13: The fact remains that I breastfed. Indeed I don’t talk to my step-mother, indeed I smoke, indeed I steal from my children, but it can still be added to my credit can’t it?
16h14: The radiologist explores both of breasts, stays a bit longer on the left one, comes back on the right one, switches down the machine and declares that all is fine.
16h15: WHAT DO YOU MEAN ALL IS FINE? I WAS THAT CLOSE TO CALL MY STEP-MOTHER.
16h16: It is, despite everything, a good news.
16h17: I feel like the 100 kilos I had on my tummy have been lifted. Thank you fate.
16h18: On my way out, I pass a young woman who waits for her turn. She has a whole bunch of old shots on her lap and it looks damned usual for her. Fuck you fate, actually.
Edit: I know that amongst my readers some have lived the torment of an examination with disturbing result. My idea is not to transform such a moment into something funny, just to try to describe with my own words what we go through during those few minutes, keeping in mind that depending on the end, one can more or less laugh about it. I trust you understood.
 TN: The carte Vitale is used in France to identify beneficiaries of the national social security system.