Dear worldly reader,
I haven’t made crepes in years. Maybe decades. When I was in high school French classes with my brother-in-law Dan, I think we went through a phase of making lots of crepes topped with strawberries and cream. But it’s been a long time.
So it was a strange coincidence that the other night I spontaneously decided to cook crepes for the family. I don’t think our daughters had ever had them. I flipped the hot crepes out of the pan and onto their plates, and they quickly spread them with butter and syrup.
The second coincidence is that my husband and I had decided to get serious about our passports, just in case any travel opportunities arose. We had the applications printed out that evening ,and after we ate crepes we started filling them out.
Why is this all such a coincidence? Because the next morning I got an email from my French editor, Deborah Druba with Fleuve Noir.
“We have just heard that Festival America, a very prestigious and influential festival held every two years in Vincennes near Paris is inviting you for next year’s edition.”
And then I opened the attachments and read the invitation. The Festival America brings writers from North and South America to France for a celebration that in past years has included authors like Margaret Atwood, Richard Ford, Donna Tartt, Tobias Wolff, Barbara Kingsolver, Chang Rae-Lee, Chuck Palahniuk … this is where I started to swoon.
In Vincennes, on the eastern side of Paris, we organize four days of readings and panels, a “café littéraire” and a book fair but also movies, concerts and exhibitions in order to celebrate the wealth and diversity of literature coming from an entire continent. Thousands of people attend this event which gets mass press and media coverage.
So it appears I will be going to France in September. And, when I informed my UK publicist Samantha Eades, we discussed the possibility that I might be able to stop over in London and for the first time meet people with Headline Review, my publisher there. Perhaps in this letter I sound calm and accepting of this turn of events, but in fact I have been dancing around the house for two days straight.
My only worry is my poor French. But my friends with Little, Brown & Co. pointed out that I surely remember the key phrases. “Une biere, s’il vous plait.” And “… des gateaux! Et du fromage! Et du pain au chocolat!” And, of course, “Non, je suis CANADIENNE” or at least “Je suis Alaskan.”
So now my only question — why didn’t I cook crepes before now?