Sunday, November 09, 2008

Trini wins an essay competition

Finally….the world has recognized my genius!!!!

My diffident little effort just won the first prize at the French essay writing competition at the annual Lire en Fête at Alliance Française!!!!

Ok, Ok…it isn’t the Nobel Prize for literature. Gimmi a break guys, let me savor this moment without those rude abdominal noises. It’s the first thing I’ve won, since…since…since time began, I guess. The closest I came to winning anything at anything was when I came fifth in the egg-and-spoon race in primary school -only we used potatoes, not eggs. After which I was disqualified for using a hybrid potato.

What made the whole thing special was that the winning entry was personally selected by the well-known French authoress, Pierrette Fleutiaux, who happens to be touring India right now, and she - personally – with her own hands, mind you, not a robotic arm, handed the prize to me. And note this….she looked earnestly into my eyes, shook my hand, and said that….(dramatic drum roll)…. ‘she was really, really impressed’.

Note the two ‘really’s – not just one. And I'm not absolutely sure there weren't three. Ok, you’ll just say that was a senior author being gracious to a tyro, but what the heck. She looked sincere enough and I choose to believe she meant it. And it is the first time I ever shook hands with a genuine ‘successful author’ – a breed I know exists, going by media reports, but which I despaired of ever finding. Maybe some of that magic will rub off onto me and I’ll stop being the perennial ‘struggling author’…and I’ll stop getting all that helpful advice: ‘when will you stop acting the goat and get a normal job like everybody else?’

Here’s a pic of the charming Mme Fleutiaux in the Alliance Française gardens:

And another one of me with her after the prize giving. Too bad they weren’t clicking pics at the prize giving itself ;(( No record of that historical moment.

The topic was to basically look at the cover of this novel of Mme Fleutiaux’s,

and imagine what the little girl called Trini was seeing, weaving in the teaser text on the cover of the novel (‘ Ce que j’ai vu m’a copé la soufflé, c’était si inattendu, si fantastique…’ ‘What I saw took my breath away, it was so unexpected, so fantastic…’). I did some research on the novel, and found that Trini was a kind of French Nancy Drew , and it involved a girl getting kidnapped and a mysterious Barbie-Doll-obsessed kidnapper…so I decided to give my essay a Nancy-Drew, Barbie-Doll touch, and weave in bits of the current financial crisis for good effect.

Here it is: my ‘prize winning’ entry….in the original French

And here is an English translation….

Thanks a ton to my good friend Guillaume for taking time off from his PhD at the Univ of Chile to review my essay and point out the grammatical bloopers.

And dear Mme Fleutiaux, thank you for encouraging words and graciousness… it really means a lot to a ‘struggling author’.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Pen-slinger,
I'm sure there was a third "really".
If not, I do solemnly repeat it here.
Happy new year, and keep up the good work, Pierrette Fleutiaux