Saturday, 19 June 2010

Welcome to France - WTF

It's World Cup Time! (For those of you living in the US, the world cup is this huge soccer event... oh, soccer? Well, you see, there's this round thing -called a soccer ball - that players kick around a field, trying to get into a vertical square called a goal...) *COUGH*

Now, France has already thrown themselves bodily out of the running, and of course I'm rooting for the US (who totally should've won) but last night was the Algeria vs England. Which means - of course - I didn't get to sleep until about 2 in the morning.

No, not because the game went on that long.
No, not because I was so excited about the game I couldn't sleep. (I didn't watch)
And no, not because I'm just a natural stay-up-later. (I mean, I am, but...)

It was because where I live, en France, en Lyon, there are quite a few Algerians. And they're celebration is very... enthusiastic! (Read: cars honking their horns and racing up my pedestrian/bus only street at 1 AM at upwards of 80 miles an hour. Also 5 (FIVE) riot vans blaring past my window, sirens roaring, because a fight broke out at the Place de Terraux. I think.)

*sigh* So I'm a bit tired. That said, the experience was actually pretty fun. ANYWHO.

France is an entirely different world.

It's interesting to me, especially as a fantasy author, how often I love to escape to these fantasy worlds and write stories in them. I'm not out to change the morals of the world, I have a story, I want to tell it. But am I really looking too far?

France is an entirely different world.

I'm serious, authors! Here - read this - and that'll give you hint. Actually, all of David Lebovitz's articles will. :D It's also really funny to expats. You think those problems are exaggerated? Because 'you can't possibly be serious'.

Isn't it strange, authors, how in looking for different worlds, we always look so far?

I'm not saying this is bad. I LOVE fantasy (der) and science fiction. But why do we do more work that we have to in finding different worlds when the different worlds could be next door? The next town? The next country? The next room?
Maybe I'm scared.

Scared of finding out my preconcieved notions were wrong.
Scared of discovering something that will pull at my passions until it hurts.
Scared of learning that every world, whether in fantasy or in real life, is different. And yet, somehow, exactly the same.

Maybe it's just me? I like to learn other points of view, I like to look at different worlds. On the condition that they are very, very far from my own.

Because if I look at you, I can understand that you're hurting. I can sympathize. I can feel your pain and show you love.
But if I look at you and acknowledge how radically different your life is from mine, how different your world is, then I have to stretch. If I still want to spread love and comfort, I cannot do so without first taking myself out of the 'if this happened to me I'd be so sad' and placing myself in the 'I don't completely understand. But I know, oh gosh I know it hurts. I don't know exactly why. I don't know exactly how. You're unique, your world is different than mine, our emotions and thoughts aren't the same. But I'm trying, and every step closer to you I can see you better. In a way I never saw you before. Not as some odd extension of myself, some being that only exists to me because we're aquainted, but as a human being. Like me, and unlike me.'

The French are so different from the Germans. So different from the British. So different from Americans. So different from Algerians. But that doesn't make them somehow less. Less worthy of being taken seriously, less worthy of love and compassion. America and France have a strange, often strained relationship. Americans accuse the French of being "snobby, whiny, defeatist, cowardly," and the French accuse Americans of being "Uncultured, rude, greedy, workaholic."
But... why? It's incredible, some of the actual hatred I've seen from some fellow Americans. Americans who, mind you, have never been to France. And honestly? I've seen much less hatred of Americans. I've even seen love of Americans. My parents went to a resteraunt and got free drinks and a tour because the owner's grandfather had been in WWII, and the Americans had helped liberate Paris.
Wheras I never hear any thanks to France for helping us out in the Revolutionary War. AH- wait. World switch. But that was so long ago! 200 some years. To Americans, that's everything. To Europe, that's like, yesterday.
I could try to see a little bit more.
From a French point of view world.
From an American point of view world.
What do you think?


(P.S. A humongous "OMGYAY!" thanks to Kerrin Hearfield for the Honest Scrap Award! Seriously, yay!!! :D

I'm supposed to tell you ten things you may not know, but... I tell everything, so I can't think of anything... um... I like cats more than dogs? And I'm an expert in dancing/singing into a hairbrush? I write fantasy? :P

Five bloggers who I think are always super-sincere:

Janet @ Janet Sumner Johnson
Miriam S. Forster @ Dancing with Dragons is Hard on Your Shoes...
Vicki Rocho @ Rambles and Randomness
Lindsay (a.k.a. Isabella) @ Adventures in Writing
Icy Roses @ From Elysium

These are bloggers who are my heroes, and awesomeness besides. Go look at their links (if you haven't already. Seriouslyz). Now I must end this epic parenthenses thing--->)


Nicole MacDonald said...

YAY I'm so glad K. passed that award on to you *grin* it's fun watching it go around ;p

I love that about fantasy & sci-fi too. The world I'm creating isn't focused on humans and their petty fight for survival. They aren't at the top of the food-chain!! I love it!

Jemi Fraser said...

The antagonism between cultures and countries confounds me. Thankfully I think a lot of it is good-hearted bantering - at least I hope it is. I'm Canadian & didn't know there were 'issues' between France & the US. :)

Congrats on the award!

Janet Johnson said...

Awww . . . I'm totally blushing. You are so nice! Thank you!

Congrats on getting the award yourself. :)

I love your conversation on France. TOTALLY different world. All people really want is a little respect and understanding. I love the French for all their passion and honesty and beautiful culture.

Oh, and I was in a French territory when France won the World Cup in 1998. Yes, the honking, and celebrations went on for days! Good luck getting that sleep! :)

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

My first visit to France during the 1998 world cup. I agree with Janet, there was a lot of celecrating going on. :)
Congrats on the award, you deserve it.
Aww, thanks for the kind words and the award.