The Writing Blues in French

“Woke up this morning with the unpublished writers blues. No point tryin’ when you’re born to lose.”

You gotta suffer if you want to sing the blues. It’s the law. Memphis Earlene doesn’t think I’m doing it right.

” You  want to be down so low you’re crawling on your belly like a reptile.  You want to hurt so bad you can’t contain it any longer,” she says, and here comes the zinger.

“Right now you just got some ennuie. 

Ennuie is  French, and everyone knows you can’t sing the  Blues in French.

Ennuie is French for bored.

Children get bored.  Adults are presumed to have Inner Resources.  Unpublished writers blues are trivial compared to  My Baby’s on Death Row in Texas  Blues or Raped-and- Pregnant Blues.

“Au contraire,” says Scarlett, my fashion consultant.  Ever attuned to trends,  she has decided that she is a French woman at heart.  “Ennuie is  a condition tres serieuse.  You need ennuie if  you want to be an Existentialiste. ”

Existentialism is what the French have instead of blues.

“I tried it in high school. Once was enough”, I tell Scarlett. “All us brainy misfits were into Existentialism except for the ones who were into Ayn Rand. We wore black turtlenecks and read Camus. They wore suits and read Atlas Shrugged.  Now they’re Masters of the Universe.  Sad, really. ”

Memphis Earlene yawns.  Too many words, and that suspicious note of self-pity.

“J’adore Camus,” says Scarlett. “He was a real life movie star.”

“Then maybe you can explain The Myth of Sisyphus,” I say, in a sarcastic tone of voice because Scarlett’s idea of serious reading is the Vogue September Issue. ” Guy rolls a boulder up a hill and it rolls down again. Day after day. Camus says he’s happy? I don’t get it.”

“Life is absurd,” Scarlett says. “Rolling a boulder uphill sounds a lot like  writing .”

And right now, for the moment at least, I’m happy.

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6 Responses to The Writing Blues in French

  1. Dawn says:

    Getting “the blues” right just takes practice. Wait, what the heck am I talking about?! Getting the blues is easy. It’s getting out that’s hard. What’s opposite of blue on the color wheel? Orange? That makes sense. I could dig me some orange right now.

  2. barry alpert says:

    I detect the blues within zydeco songs in a french creole sung by Queen Ida and Rosie Ledet.

  3. rebekah says:

    Assuming the misspelling of ennui is Memphis Earlene’s.

  4. The mispelling of ennui is my own. And it should be “serieux” for gender agreement.

  5. easearle says:

    Great advice! Wish all fellow writers would read these words of wisdom! XX E

  6. Scarlett has a point about the boulder and writing – except that writers do get to the top, the apex, the pinnacle, numerous times – and then choose to start all over again – sort of like working out? Maybe writing is a blues activity – & working out, most likely NOT ( regardless of its merits)? Or does it depend on where the work out is?

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