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  • Writer's picturetaylormacarnette

No. 3

The writing has slowed, the cigarettes are burning quicker, and the amount of sugar I take in my espresso has doubled. Today is the first day Marseille has succumbed to autumn, but the trees are still breathing green. I’m sitting alone outside the café by our flat with a cappuccino and a glass of water that the flies have taken over before I had the chance. These tables are usually full this time of day, but everyone else is inside. They’re too cold, all of them wearing long fur coats and wool hats. It’s sixty degrees and the wind is strong but these people don’t know true winter. They don’t know that the sky shouldn’t look like this in November. You can't get your normal dose of seasonal depression in Marseille, not even if you wanted to.

I planned to write all day, but in total, I’ve managed three new words, edited twenty old ones, and reread the first chapter of my manuscript twice. Then I felt very much like shouting. It’s Marseille, people yell all the time. People are loud here like they are in New York. The south of France is brash like much of New England. I compromise and sigh, over and over, but it's nothing compared to the wind. Everything I write comes out trivial and fluff. My French is getting worse instead of better.

I’ve been listening to lovely old crooners to save my life. They're the only way I can get anything done. Dolly Parton, Dusty Springfield, Skeeter Davis, Loretta Lynn, Patsy Cline. I think much of life is like this: listening to women who make you feel a little better, going off on your own and feeling a little worse, then doing it over again. I am not one of those women, though. The sound of my own voice does not soothe me. I'm killing too many of my darlings. Words are coming at a premium I cannot afford.

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