An Invitation to Our French Soireé
I wish you all lived close enough to attend our French Soireé. Valerie Bell and I have been working on designing a neighborhood outreach evening, and we held two pilot events before Christmas. We have another two planned for Sunday evening, February 10, and Sunday evening, February 17. (However, if you do live close enough and would like to attend, e-mail and we'll get a paper invitation in the mail to you. Val lives in Kildeer, IL.) We also will be holding a Soireé in the Ft. Wayne, Indiana, area later on.
So! What's a soireé?
Soireé simply means "evening." The invitation reads:
Admit it: You were never one of those who called french fries
Join us for a night of French language lessons,
But mostly, we'd like to share an evening with people who
Valerie gives a basic French lesson (all in French). We learn a French children's song (Rock-and-Roll Frere Jacques), and we begin to appreciate—just a little bit—the impact of French culture on American culture. Did you know, for instance, depending upon the source, that an estimated 40% of the words in the English language are of French derivation?
How about à la carte (or à la mode)? What about blonde or bureau? And to continue through the alphabet, connoisseur? Or corduroy? How about forte or genre? Or layette? Mousse or nouveau riche? Sabotage or savant? Venue or vignette? How about voyeur?
Valerie then teaches our guests how to "read" a piece of great art (a replica of a Chagall painting). This exercise is one of the hallmarks of our France pilgrimage, which we apply at the Louvre, The Museé d'Orsay, The Centre Pompidou, Chartres Cathedral, The Picasso Museé, and, finally, the Chagall Museé. I pass out flyers for the fall 2008 Pilgrimage to France, titled "God Through the Eyes of the Artist and the Artist In the Eye of God." (For further details check out the Hungry Souls travel Web site www.Hungry-Souls.com.) Then there are those wondrous French pastries—chocolate croissants, pear tarts, petits fours, etc., etc., and, always, great laughing conversation. (A friend came to one Soirée wearing a fake moustache, a scarf tossed gallantly around his neck, making a point to kiss the hands of all the mademoiselles in the room!)
However, the point of the event—particularly those we held before Christmas—is to spend time thinking about the agony of translation. How hard it felt for those of us who are "parlez-vous-Français"-deficient to say and understand, Je m'apelle Karen. Comment tally vous?
Then we think together about the translations that have nothing to do with the spoken word that go on in our daily lives. Different values between acquaintances. Attempting to fathom the jargon of a computer manual. The disparate love exchanges between spouses. The subtexts at business meetings (or on church boards)! We think a bit about how hard it is for people outside the church to understand our ecclesiastical terminologies—redemption, for instance, or the blood of the lamb, or atonement.
We then explain that this is what the meaning of the Gospel is at its deepest center. It is the story of how God, in attempting to translate the language of love, the language of heaven (which, it seems, is always so hard for humans to understand), sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to show us how to live.
So what is the purpose of all this soireé work? Of course, Valerie and I would love to generate interest in the France Pilgrimage, but we also want to develop hospitality outreach models that will be natural ways of introducing friends and neighbors to thoughts about why Jesus took on our flesh, talked in human language and walked about in the world. It is a translation enterprise, short and simple!
We think that with two more test run Soireés at Steve and Valerie's home in Kildeer, Illinois, we will have matured this idea and can have a published model ready for others to use with their friends and neighbors by the end of the summer. Bonne idèe, n'est ce pas?
Writer-Collaborative Filmscript Enterprise
I have developed the narrative architecture for a screenplay called Lisa's Strata. I need to gather a group of four to eight women for a five-day plot-character-and-narrative development writing project. The goal will be to have enough background, dialogue and plot ideas to compile this into a filmscript, using another team of writers. You do not have to be a script writer for this stage in the event. There is a cost of $400 for these five days; this pays for the condo, which is in the Wisconsin Dells (Peppertree at Tamarack), and the food we will prepare as teams and eat together, having lively conversation on ideas, films and the development of the woman's consciousness. The dates are: Monday, March 3 - Friday, March 7, 2008.
You will learn exercises in writing from your own personal history. We will enter into daily stimulating brainstorming sessions intertwined with personal creative development exercises. The collaborative process is one of the most remarkable of all creative experiences. Yet, we generally think of writing as a solo venture. In fact, it is rarely so. If we learn the ways to create teams, to depend upon fellow artists, we will advance far into the creative process.
This is a first-time venture for Hungry Souls. You will be in on the groundbreaking of an exciting creative enterprise. Once you register by e-mailing me at , I will send the bare plot structure from which we will begin our enterprise and other details as to where we will be staying.
The Soulish Food e-mails are being posted each week on the Hungry Souls Web site. Newcomers can look that over and decide if they want to register on the Web site to receive the weekly newsletter. You might want to recommend this to friends also. They can go to www.HungrySouls.org.
Did you know that an estimated 40% of the words in the English language are of French derivation?
2008 Pilgrimage to France
God Through the Eyes
October 24 - November 10, 2008