Tomorrow I'm flying out of Boston to Dublin and then on to Paris. From there various trains will take me here and there until at some point I'll be in the southeastern city of Orange. I'll get a bus from Orange to Vaison la Romaine, which is just 4 kilometers from the tiny town of Faucon. I'll get to Faucon one way or another ... taxi, hitchhike, or walk. Faucon is where Violette Leduc bought a home once she had had some publishing success, and it is in a cemetery there that she was buried in 1972. I will place a pebble on her stone.
Here is the opening of her first novel In the Prison of her Skin:
My mother never gave me her hand ... She always helped me on and off pavements by pinching my frock or coat very lightly at the spot where the armhole provides a grip. It humiliated me. I felt I was inside the carcass of an old horse with my carter dragging me along by one ear ... One afternoon, as a gleaming carriage sped past, splattering the leaden summer with its reflections, I pushed the hand away, right in the middle of the road. She pinched the cloth even tighter and lifted me off the ground like a chicken being carried by one wing. I went limp. I refused to move. My mother noticed my tears.
"You try to get yourself killed and now you cry!" It was she who was killing me.
I'll return on May 21st and, on May 22nd, post a photo of her tombstone.
Please stay tuned.