Saturday, 17 September 2011

A new muse, peut-être?

... and just like that, Brad Pitt is suddenly in my life.

Now, don't get me wrong, he's very attractive and all, but I honestly hadn't given him any thought for oh, months? years? (Except, that is, for those few occasions when people in my writing group - from a young married guy to a elegant senior citizen who was once married to an Ambassador - have questioned my decision to give the name Brad to the hero of Inevitable. "I don't know," said Ann. "It just reminds of that film star, you know? It's not a name for a diplomat. He should at least be Bradley." They don't realise, of course, that he's named after an entirely different Brad - who, in fact, is a Bradley - and that his name is therefore immutable. Anyway, I digress.)

I've had the oddest of weeks. (Don't worry, I'm coming back to Brad Pitt). I've been ill in bed and yet unable - of course - to do anything sensible like sleep and read and listen to Martin Sheen's soothing voice on Desert Island Discs (well, actually, I did do that - did you know that Bill Clinton used to watch The West Wing on the plane? Anyway, focus, Claire, focus). I say "of course" because now that I have my iPad, I apparently lack the capability to be offline for more than about five minutes at a time.

I had an excuse, though. I needed to market Conquering Babel. And in so doing I came across a plethora, a multitude, a legion of expat magazines and expat blogs, and just like that, somehow, over a number of days, it came to me - the thing that should have come to me years ago, really, and kind of did, but I ignored it. The blogging thing. The blogging about languages thing.

It's not glamorous. It's not going to impress anyone at parties. It's not going to make me rich. But still, it's my thing. I've learned a lot over the last few years - a lot about languages, teaching them, learning them, and also a lot about writing and blogging and tweeting. And now all these things have come together in my shiny new blog,

And of course, I need content. But one thing I've also learned a lot about these last couple of years is Google Alert. And my shiny new alert arrived a couple of nights ago with the news that Brad Pitt was learning French. (Actually, if you Google "Brad Pitt learning French", he's apparently said quite a lot about it over the years. Who knew? And yes, okay, I Googled "Bradley Whitford learning French", just to compare, and you get this, which while it is perfectly pleasant, does not actually have anything to do with learning French.)

So I blogged about him. Brad Pitt. Name dropped, if you will. Today (the very day when I happened to watch the Friends episode where he guest-stars, the coincidence of which is frankly a little spooky), I finally got wordpress sort of vaguely figured out and so I reposted the quote on that blog: the inaugural post, in fact. I added a photo of him. It didn't show up. Oh well. Wordpress is too clever for me.

And then, when I couldn't sleep at roughly 2.30 am, I opened up my iPad again, and clicked to my Wordpress blog. And there he was, right on the front page of the iPad version of the site. As though he were the theme of my blog. And let me reassure you, he is not.

But then something clicked in my sleep-deprived brain and I realised that a picture of him and the word Babel seemed to go together. And they do. Because of course, the film Babel? (Which, no, I haven't seen, since it's neither an intelligent romantic comedy nor written by Aaron Sorkin.)

I don't know. That's a lot of coincidences. Maybe he should be my mascot? Maybe I should put him on the front of my Conquering Babel book? Dedicate it to him? Too much?

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