THOUGHTS ON WRITING

As One Day Flies By, Then Another, I’ve Tried Capturing the Moments

Like butterflies in a net

Janice Macdonald
The Daily Cuppa Grande
4 min readMay 23, 2024

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Wild Cistus in the Languedoc countryside, the butterflies are there somewhere . . . (photos by author)

Yesterday, I woke earlier than usual, made coffee and started to read the New York Times. My partner, usually up earlier than me, was still sleeping. Our small third-floor garret was quiet, save for sounds from our vigneron neighbour’s winemaking operation — wine barrels being emptied or filled, maybe cleaned, there’s always work to do in the cellars and vineyards.

It felt peaceful though, part of the fabric of life in this small French village. The news was less peaceful — wars, famine, corruption. I skimmed the headlines and read on. A German writer, Jenny Erpenbeck won this year’s International Booker prize for her novel Kairos.

Set against the collapse of East Germany, Kairos is described as a ‘richly textured evocation of a tormented love affair between a young woman and a much older married man. The Times reviewer described it as ‘a wallow, a cathartic leak of a novel.’

Intrigued, I ordered a sample on my Kindle. Within minutes, I was transported from my French village garret to the fifth floor of an East Berlin apartment. Through the front door, into a dark hallway. There’s a waft of scent, Chanel N°5 I later found out. In the kitchen, on a blue…

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Janice Macdonald
The Daily Cuppa Grande

At 68, I started a new chapter in my life: I moved to France. Alone. It turned out to be quite the page-turner. Still is — even when age insists on a part.