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I wasn’t in the best mood when I started out on my walk yesterday.

But when the shadows start to look a lot like June (not more than ten steps away from the Winter silhouette above) I have to lighten up.

Look around.

See what there is to see.

You never know what’s hiding in the tall grass.

I had never noticed this house before.

But it’s an outstanding example of my philosophy that any house with a Picture Window becomes a Museum of the Self, an exhibition space for what the homeowner feels is most important to display to the outside world:

I was still in too grouchy a mood, though, to walk up and inspect the artifacts on show. And I can tell you now that today isn’t shaping up to be one of my best-behavior days, either. All I’m saying is that people, especially annoying and boring people, better stay out of my way today.

To all bores and dunces: You’ve been warned.

But when I came across this house, I fell instantly in love with whoever lives here. Can you guess why?

I’m in love because this is the first Norman flag I’ve ever seen flying anywhere on Long Island.

You can tell this is a Norman (from the French province of Normandy) flag because it’s got two leopards passant, known as les p’tits cats. If there had been three leopards — les treis cats – it would have been an English royal banner (the English monarchs, as many of youse know,  are descendents of the House of Normandy).

I went up and knocked on the door of this house, intending to introduce myself as a kindred spirit, but no one was home. Sigh. The story of my life.

Surprisingly, dear readers and Damn France Book followers (as far as you have been hanging in here on this blog with me during the composition of my damn France book) we seem to have like-minded amigos in the land of the tsars. The Russian rights to Le Road Trip have been sold to a publishing company in Moscow. This news matches my very Russian mood, in that I’m sure there is something to regret, sooner or later, in every bit of good luck.

The National Geographic Traveler magazine has a mention of Le Road Trip in its current issue:

Vivian Swift’s Le Road Trip is both the true story of an idyllic French honeymoon that winds from Paris through Normandy, Brittany, Bordeaux, the Loire Valley, and Chartres, and an illustrated road-trip handbook on topics ranging from “How to Vagabond” to “What to Wear in Paris.”

The good people at France Magazine have a lot more to say:

Veteran globetrotter Swift set out to chronicle her French honeymoon but ended up penning a quirky love letter to travel filled with cultural, historical and literary references. Delightful watercolors illustrate this wide-ranging field guide, which offers hilarious travel survival tips for every clime as well as ruminations on subjects as varied as Parisian windows, Breton sailor-stripe shirts, and lettuce (not to mention a highly idiosyncratic A-to-Z on vagabonding in the Bordeaux region).

There is more wonderful press coverage in the pipeline and as soon as it becomes finalized I will tell you all about it, not to brag but to confirm your own good taste for being well ahead of the curve.

And according to Moscow time (eight hours ahead of Eastern Daylight Savings Time), it’s already Friday night. I have some crying in my vodka to catch up with!

19 comments to On an April Walk

  • FOUR DAYS. (or so amazon says). I can’t wait to have Le Road Trip in my hands!!

  • Barbara Lemme

    I just checked to see how many days too. Time to smile Vivian and enjoy the great advanced press.

  • Mary

    Typical happy day with Vivian’s discoveries.
    Love it.
    Yes, I’m waiting for Barns and Noble to call me for my pick up !!
    Congratulations on the new opportunities, Vivian.

    With Nancy Pearl in your corner, how can it miss?

  • Deborah

    What an honor to have been able to see the process leading up to this very well-received book! These good reviews plus Easter should mean a weekend of champagne, Peeps, and maybe a cake with blue icing for you.

    Me, I’m having fun digging out huge clumps of miscanthus. Nothing like taking out your frustrations on unsuspecting flora. If your Russian mood continues, feel free to come on down & help me.

    How’d the Hofstra program go (wish I could have attended.)

  • Nadine

    Great news about the publicity for Le Road Trip! Congratulations. I should have my very own copy of your book next week, and I’ll be happy to make my review known to everyone on Amazon.

    Today is too sunny to be Russian, but next time it rains here in NJ I’ll break out the vodka to enjoy the bad weather.

  • Oh goodness, it sounds like pre-launch jitters! It will all be over with soon enough and you’ll be basking in accolades for sure! I can’t wait until I have my copy, but even better, I can’t wait until my dear friend receives her SURPRISE copy. She is a true Francophile and will be in 7th heaven!
    Cheers!!

  • I’ve been pestering my local indie bookstore Third Place Books. They promise me that the book will be here next week. Hooray for great advance press and many thanks for sticking with this book and gifting us another wonderful adventure on the page. Have a great weekend – you deserve it!

  • I have your book on order at one of my very favorite little bookshops in all the world, Left Bank Books in Searsport, Maine. Which also happens to be the bookshop closest to where I live, lucky me, it’s a gem. Happy spring, and happy book publication week! Enjoy the accolades!

  • AnneL

    Vivian, I took a walk in the rain today to see if I could buy Le Road Trip. I found it at Barnes & Noble, and took a few pics of your book “in the wild.” It was in the travel section across the aisle from the international guidebooks.

    Oddly enough, there was a big blue banner advertising a wine sale a few doors down from the bookstore, and “authentic French brioche bread” was a featured item at the Whole Foods store across the street.

    I have just had a little while to page through this beautiful book. At first look I am drawn to “The Landscape of Awe” (thank you so much for including that site and the facing page) and “Le Foret de Fougeres.”

    I am sure that this book will be a wonderful success. I hope you’ll enjoy every moment of it.

  • Your book arrived! I’ve set aside today to savor it while drinking my tea. On my way to France via Le Road Trip. Abientot!

  • Carol

    The little 10 year old girl whose life path was determined by a National Geographic article, is now written up in the same magazine. Now THATS what I call coming full circle! All manner of best wishes to you along with balloons, champagne, ice cream, streamers, chocolate and a brand new kitten!!

  • Sandy

    Can’t wait for my copy and I may just curl up to read with a good Vodka to boot!

  • Just got word from Amazon that my pre-ordered copy has finally shipped! It will be here tomorrow so I know what I’m doing all day…sipping a cup of java and savoring every page! So excited! :)

  • Deborah

    Remember that scene in the movie “The Jerk” where Steve Martin is wildly waving the phone book and shouting, “The new phone books are here! The new phone books are here!”? Well, that was me when the UPS truck pulled up to deliver the Amazon package, except I was shouting, “That Damn France book is here! That Damn France book is here!”

  • Hi Vivian, I just saw the book trailer over at Betsy’s – it is fantastique!

  • Tracey

    My copy came yesterday. I loved the book and plan to send copies of it as birthday presents to my sisters.

  • Nadine

    I got my books yesterday and “Le Road Trip” is BEAUTIFUL! I’ve been calling every Francophile I know an telling them about it. I sure was like Steve Martin yelling “The new phone books are here!”

  • Hey Vivian Swift readers, if you liked (loved) Vivian’s new book please take a moment and post your reader review online (anywhere you wish: Amazon, Powell’s, etc.) Let’s get the word out!

  • Sally

    THE BOOK has arrived (with 2 copies that are gifts for friends). It has already changed my life: I will never look at an ear on the BBQ grill the same way again! :-)

    Looking forward to the reading beyond le pain–already it has me back in France again. Thank you.

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