(not quite) Mastering the Art of French Living:
“This book is funny as heck. I like to read a book before going to sleep but my wife wouldn’t let me with this one because I kept laughing so hard I was shaking the bed.”
— Keith Van Sickle, author of One Sip at a Time: Learning to Live in Provence
Hilarious memoir about life as an American in Brittany, (Not Quite) Mastering the Art of French Living, reminds me of Stephen Clarke's books with its astute observations, wit, and affection for France.
— Ann Mah, author of Mastering the Art of French Eating and The Lost Vintage
(Not Quite) Mastering the Art of French Living is a hilarious look at trying to navigate life in France, literally and figuratively. Worth buying the book just for the story of the roundabout, the car accident, and the strangely accommodating car rental agency.
— Michelle Richmond, author of The Year of Fog, The Marriage Pact, and Golden State
In a world where more and more means less and less, in writing, it's still the meaning that counts. Good writing doesn't just appear, though it often appears that way. It's like sports, actually. The great players make everything look effortless, seamless, easy, as if the outcome was inevitable and never in doubt. Their greatness comes from natural ability, to be sure, but ability honed by hours and hours and years and years of practice, work, and discipline. Writing, like sports, is process, and if you're lucky, because luck is involved too, a product appears: a winning team, a great season, a beautiful poem, a story that grabs you. The "magic" of good writing is magic indeed, but also the result of many decisions, revisions, and clear intent.
And then there is publishing, the bane and prize of all writers. The finished work, chiseled from the heart, is the beginning of the publishing process, not the end. Writing a poem or a story without publishing is like composing a song and not singing it. It has nothing to do with the quality of the work or the talent of the author—there are a gazillion wonderful unpublished works in the world. It has to do with process.
Writing is communication, and unless a work is meant to be private, its intention is to be public. Publishing—making it public, sharing with the larger world, communicating, that's what writing is for. And here, with I'll Never Be French, we have both: product and process complete. I hope you enjoy your read.