Category Archives: France

A Day In Provence (French Chronicles) by Matt Carlson

Jie Jie Sola-Binna sat at her desk, in her illegally built wooden house in the countryside outside the village of Cou-Poux (neck poop) where she lived. She had had it built by her son Tony and his friends, from the left over monies of her dead husband Jackie. It was a modest house, but well put together mostly, though the tin roof made it insufferable during the summer months. She wrung her big old hands together while staring at her computer screen, the arthritis taking a toll on her hands the more she aged. She was close to 70 years old now and had on occasion thoughts of death. She knew that that day was coming and she wondered about her existence, had she lived a life worth living? Hell, no! Of course not. The fact that she hadn’t already killed herself or one of her two children when they were young had always amazed her. Now, of course, she was glad that she hadn’t, she loved her grand kids who lived next store, or at least the youngest one who still lived there. It gave her something to do, something to ease the pain of her own painful thoughts. Life had seemed like that: just a series of painful memories or realities in progress. She alone knew that she suffered from BPD (borderline personality disorder) but she had pretty much control of that today – or so she thought. Nothing was perfect or forever.

To her,  her whole life seemed like something that should never have been. I mean, her own Mother hadn’t even wanted her, so she grew up living with her grandmother, and a private Catholic school, always feeling a sense of being abandoned, of not being worthy of love. So she never really learned how to love, or to show it. No one had shown her! What could you expect? You can’t wring blood out of a stone, she thought. Later on, she pushed away the feelings that she had for other girls. It was considered wrong to love other girls like herself, and yet the other girls liked her for her masculine side and look. She was a bit comforting, until you got to know her. She’d always kept her hair short, never wore make up and just wasn’t like any of them. She wasn’t feminine at all. But took up the role, the only one this world had offered up to her: a woman. Then she got married to a man she didn’t love, had his children, worked as his secretary and then when he died, she was relieved. He played the guitare alright, was a good provider, drank himself to sleep every night over a bottle of wine, had an erection whenever it was necessary and then ka-poot! He died. And in any case, he hardly ever spoke, for God’s sake, so conversation sucked big time. He spent most of his energy working with his hands or on graphic projects; he’d been a graphic artist. Still today people didn’t know exactly what that meant. To Jie Jie, they had carved out a decent life together, but a modest one. She still wondered about her missed out life as a lesbian. and at least now, if there weren’t any conversations, it wasn’t due to the fact that you had nothing to share with your significant other.
Jie Jie wasn’t a happy woman, she never would be and had decided that she could live on, knowing that. She loved her kids now, her grandkids too, tolerated her daughter-in-law Dee-Nuh, and still managed to maintain a friend or two, or three. Her sons, Tony and Bertrand were good kids, though they too had their demons. The oldest was very technical and good with electronics, trying these days to make some extra money in landscaping , cutting trees and such. He was a bit slow in the matter of understanding relationships and so on, but so was Jie Jie, so was Bertrand. They together had no love, but they had blood. For the three of them, it was the same, they had never leanred about love, so didn’t know how to show it, to express it. All too stressful that. It was easier to talk about mundane things, or things outside of oneself, like culture, or  work, the house. Anything too personal was avoided. Love would remain an intellectual concept far from their realities.
The youngest was the gay of the family, artistic (well they both were) and was attempting to work as a hypnotic-therapist. Well, at least he had been. He wasn’t able to do anything anymore. She thought of Bertrand’s ex boy friend and how much she hated him. That whole relationship had been a mistake, she thought. But in reality, it was mostly because the ex in question totally had had her number and would have nothing to do with her. She hadn’t been able to manipulate him the way she had the boyfriend before. And now her poor Bertrand was still a mess (three years practically) after the break up. She remembered that day when HE (the ex boy friend) had come over to her house, without calling and run off with Fee-Fee and Fantabulous, the two Yorkshires that she’d been baby sitting together with Bertand for five months (Bertrand was recovering from his back “ ak-si-dent” she would say). True, her and Bertrand had kept them initially temporarily (the boyfriend was working in England) but then, when her Bertand had had that back “ ak-si-dent”  (again due to the ex!) well, she just didn’t want her little precious boy to suffer anymore. The dogs had to stay! That she had lied to the Gendamerie about everything didn’t faze her. That she had said he had broken into her house, while they were bother there didn’t faze her either, that she had said he had attacked her either…didn’t faze her. It was all about the result, not what you did to get what you wanted….And of course he hadn’t hit her physically, it was the emotional cost that he had put upon her that she would make him pay for! And in reality, it wasn’t about her son, it was about her ego and the abandoned feelings that he had brought back – the ex had revived all that by breaking up with her son and then the gall of running off with Fee-Fee and Fantabulous! Those dogs, yes, she had really loved them! 
She would make him pay, “Elledgmother-fucker-cock-sucker-in-hell-bastard-theive-hateful-hateful-hateful-black-hearted-son-of-a-bitch,” her rampage began and ended before she realized she was still at her desk, with her painful hands irating alone there…
“Oh, I think I’ll make some tea,” she sighed.  The BPD had roared its ugly head yet again; the sleeper has awakened.

OMG! What Have I Done?? by matt carlson

March 14th here in Clovis California….I woke up in Fresno (where I’m staying) and I woke up with a stomach ache. I am feeling misplaced & lost. I have left my zone of comfort on every level here. I Have left France (for a while) to return back to my roots, to reconnect. Now, I just want to go  back home and take care of the fish in the pond, take a solar shower outside while looking at the Saint Victoire, feed the birds, sing in my wooden chalet…. see some of my friends…spend some time with my other half….oops! I Wanted, Wanted, Wanted our love to be real :

BUT That other half has turned out to be a monster in Borderline Personality Disorder clothes!! The lamb now a wolf has taken off his clothes and tried to eat the person who cared for him. I have become its favorite dinner and TALL TALE. I  have left to save myself, to recreate a new life here, to reconnect and to qualify people, places and ideas. I want NO REGRETS. I am full of intentions here in the land of the raisin…..OMG!

Fortunately, I haven’t had any expectations; nothing has happened that has surprised me. I learned alot living in France for 27 years and today I know and understand people: their motivations, their hypocritical ways, their words within words….As well as those that show true friendship and love. True generosity comes with NOT expecting something in return. It is not about getting something, or working out your own personal problems against someone, nor should it be a way to manipulate someone further down the road for gain…

I know when someone is being sincere with me or not.

Six weeks are coming up this week since I’ve been here and I’m still searching for my nitch. My nitch might be in Palm Springs, or perhaps even in the mountains nearby or perhaps on a tropical island….hmmmm Hawaii? Will my dogs be happy over there?

I am at the moment here in Clovis California at the PARISIEN, a French bakery… How funny is that? Maybe I could work with the owner by organizing French music concerts around his food…maybe we could organize events together….See? My mind is trying to figure out answers, trying to find my tribe. Palm Springs is a nice idea – had alot of fun there this weekend at the Indian Wells ATP/WTA tournament, with all the stars of tennis and located in a sublime place. On top of that, terrific company with a new friend orginally from Vietnam. I was treated like a king and also met up with some friends from the past, one who lives in Palm Springs….

In the meantime, I feel better after eating a French meal here in old town of Clovis, California. Funny too that name, Clovis. It’s French. Clovis was known as the first King of what would become France….


Paris Times (N° 9) Crazy “O” in Provence by Matthew Carlson (fiction)

Sometimes against our better judgement, we get involved with people that are sick, perverted and have no idea of what happiness is. Neither do they want it. then there are people like myself, who do know, and who appreciates beauty and happy moments, can spread the joy to others.

Here is part of a fictional short story (with some fun added in) about a gay couple in Provence!

Enjoy 😉

Paris Times (N° 9) Crazy “O” in Provence (a story of fiction) by Matthew Carlson

“O” was short for Oliver, after the tree. But in french the sound “O” is also “eau” (water) , so a play of words too. O loved visual things, that’s why he had finally settled on graphic design after art school. It was also because it was the only thing he understood. It was a way to live out his emotions, because otherwise there wouldn’t be any expression of them.

Hard times had fallen on O, but he had no one to blame but himself. He had planted the seed of miscontent and made it his M.O. : his way of dealing with everything around him. It had to be conflictual. It was all that he knew. Or conflict with no words at all. The mask. He had learned that from his alcoholic Dad and evil Mother Jie-Jie. She had accidently killed her baby boy fetus just before getting pregnant with O. How could she have known that that giant vibrator would damage her unborn kid? True, she didn’t want to have it, the first one already had been too big! And then before she knew what happened, she got pregnant again. She tried to will it away but it was of no use. O was born during the summer and she felt stuck, sticky and hated being a Mom again.

O had made considerable progress the last few years living with Gelledge. They had bought a house together in a small village in Provence and though the inheritance that was promised from Gelledge’s family never arrived, they did the best they could with what they had. At least the inheritance from O’s deceased Dad had come through. Gelledge had pushed for O to invest together as the money was being spent without any consideration. O didn’t like to count his money, only spend it.They had named the place, Le Pin Pasteque (the watermelon pine tree) after a certain time and were rather good at organizing parties in their countryside ruin of a house. Gelledge had bought a wooden chalet and they put it up together. When O had had the first of his many Borderline Personality attacks, Gelledge had thrown himself into rennovating, adding on two large rooms in wood and getting tendinitus all over his body. He paid for it with over three years of physical therapy. O didn’t seem to notice.

O stood by most of the time, saying nothing and doing almost nothing. He was able to do gardening, since it fit into his conception of visual pleasure and though it would never be Brad Pitt’s and Angelina Jolie’s beautiful garden, it was okay on some level. The rest of the house, he could do little. There wasn’t enough money, so why even try? Though he did get persuaded to do the kitchen counter with a sink in it. He even had a little fun doing it. But their arguments between the gay couple were often and there never seemed to be any solution. O had absolutely no idea of what a compromise was, being Borderline well, it could only be a black or white answer.

Of course through the early years, Gelledge had no idea he was dealing with someone suffering from BPD (boderline personality disorder) and questioned himself numerously over the years to make sure it wasn’t HIM that was crazy. Upon seeing on Google the profile of someone with BPD, he too a huge sigh of relief. His lover was written all over those pages!

When O had left their home after too much water under the bridge, he said he was going to stay with his Mother. Gelledge never knew if this was the truth as O always lied. Once even during one of his hospitalizations when Gelledge visited, one of his “tricks” was there. Surprise! The guy apparently came regularly to cut O’s hair. That of course was a final straw, but Gelledge was an accepting person and also considered O’s emotional state. He really believed that O could turn himself around and become someone better. And too, O had taken care of him with his HIV woes.

Fast forward into late 2014, O had completely lost it. One week before Gelledge was to leave for a summer job in England, his back gave out suddenly. Strange the timing…The day after Gelledge had left him the dogs for a few days so that they could re-acquaint themselves with him. They hadn’t had any contact for a couple of months.

Laying in the hospital, only morphine could calm the pain. And it felt great. Jie-Jie of course was there, she would take care of him….and the dogs. She was a parasite in life. She always longed for what she didn’t have and with that, would do her best to get what others’ had, no matter the cost. Her son O was born too soon after the accident and besides she never really wanted kids. It was just something you had to do back then. She would have much preferred to be with a woman, her husband wasn’t what she had wanted. But it became something practical.

She had never cared for her son’s lover. Something about him grated on her nerves. She could never figure out what it was, but she knew he had something that she didn’t. So holding on to Fipus and Freedom seemed to be a good choice, though she had said when offered a Jack Russel years before that she preferred French Bulldogs. When they rushed O into the hospital, she didn’t bother to telephone Gelledge though their relationship had been on it’s eleventh year. She didn’t feel like it.