petite anglaise

June 25, 2007


Filed under: navel gazing — petiteanglaiseparis @ 11:48 am

For the past nine months I have been living in a shadow. Impossible to shake off, a suffocating cloud of self-doubt hovered above my head, darkening my every thought, my every gesture. Impossible to conceive of meeting a man (or boy) while I felt so brittle, so unsure of myself. Impossible to really appreciate this new life of freedom from the constraints of the métro boulot dodo routine I’d been locked into for so long.

Writing “petite anglaise” has often been a lonely, fraught process – and this despite all the reassuring noises from my agent and editor whenever I sent them a few chapters to read. Because the hardest task of all was proving to myself that I could actually pull this off and produce a manuscript of which I could be unreservedly proud; a manuscript which would do petite anglaise justice. And so I worked, fretted, agonised and procrastinated. Writing – which seemed so natural when it was for the blog – had now become work. Why was it suddenly so much less enjoyable, I wondered? Why was my favourite pastime suddenly a cause for teeth grinding? When I wasn’t working, I fought to suppress the guilt that I should be. Even though, arguably, when I wasn’t actually writing I could have made use of my free time by going to the cinema, say, or taking in an exhibition, I found I simply couldn’t. Instead I sat hunched over my MacBook, a gnarly knot of tension between my shoulder blades, surfing the internet, but taking very little pleasure in doing so.

I alternately overate or fasted. My moods, which have always had a tendency to swing without due warning from one extreme to another, now spiralled even further out of control. I had panic attacks: heart racing, breath snagging in my throat. On more than one occasion, meeting Mr Frog for lunch, I noticed my hands trembling when I picked up my fork. Whenever I snapped at Tadpole, voice shrill, patience on a short fuse, I detested myself.

Seeking some sort of temporary respite from my anxieties, and from spending so much time trapped inside my own head, rewriting my past, I drank to excess whenever I went out. Regretted it bitterly the morning after, when temporary euphoria gave way to blinding headaches.

Then, one fine day in May, I gave birth to the second draft. And even before the feedback began to filter back to me, the cloud began to dissipate. Because while, undoubtedly, there is still work to be done, I’ve proved to myself – to my inner editor – that I am equal to the task. Thirty-four chapters, almost 100,000 words: a satisfyingly thick wad of paper, the sight of which gives me a thrill whenever my glance falls upon it.

The gestation period almost over, I began to relax. My posture changed, the tension left my limbs, my skin cleared. I began to enjoy my free time with a clear conscience; to live in the moment. I still party too hard, on occasion, but that brittle edge of desperation, of hysteria has gone. I found myself flirting again, re-discovering a side of my personality which has been in hibernation for the longest time. It’s like meeting an old friend.

And so I am hell-bent on enjoying this summer, revelling in my new-found peace, savouring the lovely, melty moments I have been sharing, of late, with the boy who lives a few doors down the street, but who I could so easily never have met.

Life is good.


  1. Congratulations Petite. I sympathise with what you went through, am going through the same myself. Who would have thought writing a novel would take so much out of you? But you’re over the worst of it by the sound of things. Looking forward to reading your book.

    Comment by hellojed — June 25, 2007 @ 11:56 am

  2. Well done for getting this far… and good luck with what is left to do …

    Enjoy your summer with your “boy” – I do hope he is older than you make him sound ;-)

    Comment by Stratfordgirl — June 25, 2007 @ 12:17 pm

  3. Wow, what an honest post you just wrote. Do enjoy the summer – you deserved it! And please keep your readers posted on the boy who lives a few doors down your street! ;-)

    Comment by mirjam — June 25, 2007 @ 12:19 pm

  4. So heres to you Mrs Robinson…………….

    Comment by Di — June 25, 2007 @ 12:23 pm

  5. When you overcome the difficulties and stresses that life throws at us and you can come out of it all saying ‘life is good’, it is one hell of an achievement. Well done you!! Looking forward to the book.
    ps: anyone who can write 100,000 words is someone to be admired, especially considering that I break into a rash whenever I am forced to write something over 500 words.

    Comment by sugar007 — June 25, 2007 @ 12:25 pm

  6. Congrats on the second draft, petite anglaise. And who is this boy down the street? Please do tell! Has Tadpole met him yet?

    Comment by Caroline in Rome — June 25, 2007 @ 12:29 pm

  7. Well done you!

    Writing a novel is totally dislocating. You obsess about everything, lose focus on everything else in your life – it changes the way you interface with the world. It often sucks.

    But somehow you get the words down on the page. You grow to like them more and more. You get happy with it. And then, one day you get to write ‘Fin’ for the last time.

    Chill out and enjoy those melty moments with the very conveniently situated boy up the street.


    Comment by Mya — June 25, 2007 @ 12:34 pm

  8. Congratulations on the draft, and the boy down the street! Writing a book is a hell of an achievement, even more so when you have striven to get it right. Can’t wait to read it.

    Comment by Alex — June 25, 2007 @ 12:43 pm

  9. Congrats to you, Petite. What an amazing sense of accomplishment that must be — I am so happy for you! That you’ve been wrapping things up and feeling better and better. It’s great to write, “Life is good,” isn’t it? I hope to reach that point one day myself. You’ve been through a lot, and you’ve come out stronger (and even more accomplished!) on the other side — and completely épanouie. (By the way, I love that French word — I think it’s one of my favorites…)

    Comment by Alice — June 25, 2007 @ 12:45 pm

  10. oooh finally…more clues….boy next door…i hardly doubt he is a boy:) i bet he is wonderful:)

    Comment by kim — June 25, 2007 @ 12:52 pm

  11. Your experiences of the writing process are very familiar. Self-imposed deadlines (necessary to beat the procrastination) can be more stressful than people realise, and you’re quite right about “work” time and “time off” merging insidiously into one, never allowing you any real rest. Any thoughts on how you might handle the process of writing book number two differently (which might be useful for the other writers out there among your readers), or is that too daunting a prospect to think about at the moment?

    Comment by old school friend — June 25, 2007 @ 12:58 pm

  12. Congratulations! And I so relate to the writing experience you’re describing… writing for my blog is pure joy and yet when I try and force myself (“force” being the operative word) to work on my book I can suddenly find 100 other things I’d rather be doing. And yet I’m excited by the prospects of writing a book. I think you described it perfectly: there’s a need to prove oneself especially with the first book, and there’s also a lot of fear of getting it “wrong” (whatever THAT means). So well done and enjoy the fruits of your “labors” with this “new baby” (FYI you’re not the first writer I’ve met who described the process as much like pregnancy and giving birth!)

    And enjoy the boy.

    Comment by The Bold Soul — June 25, 2007 @ 12:59 pm

  13. Well done for the draft… enjoy the sumemr with your BOY.. and YES! LIFE IS DAMN GOOD ! xx.

    Comment by Bla Bla Girl — June 25, 2007 @ 12:59 pm

  14. I’ll add my congrats on the 2nd draft to the pile already on your mat but I’m not sure about the boy down the street – on the basis that I find it hard to handle relationships and write, how on earth can you manage the same?

    Comment by Brennig — June 25, 2007 @ 1:52 pm

  15. Glad it all came together in the end Petite! Enjoy the summer!

    Comment by Sally Lomax — June 25, 2007 @ 2:15 pm

  16. Ah, to become an adult, to do the hard things, to take the step from dilettante to professional, to revel in the calm of knowing.

    Comment by Woody — June 25, 2007 @ 2:21 pm

  17. Congrats to fighting the procrastination devil. But please say it is just me who reads in a “happy end”-ring to your post (scary thought!) Enjoy summer!

    Comment by kajsa — June 25, 2007 @ 2:29 pm

  18. Good, Petite. The not enjoying, the not using spare time properly, but just uselessly surfing, etc etc etc all rings bells. But so does the wonder of getting there, having the MS in front of you. I’m sure it’s wonderful – you’re such a good writer. So many many congratulations. You deserve your summer. love Penelope

    Comment by grannyp — June 25, 2007 @ 2:32 pm

  19. Aaaand…she’s back! :) I look forward to reading it!

    Comment by Kiwiqueen — June 25, 2007 @ 2:44 pm

  20. Congratulations on nearly giving birth! Maybe soon you’ll be conceiving again!

    Comment by Hywel Mallett — June 25, 2007 @ 2:49 pm

  21. Something for you…

    This, is the beginning of the future, grasp it now, before it gets away. Feel, as its your nature, that you, are on your way. See the life around you, it moves by without a care. And tell me what it is about you, that connects us when you’re there…

    Because life is complicated and happiness so elusive.

    Comment by Steve... — June 25, 2007 @ 2:54 pm

  22. Well done, Petite. Your feelings of frustration and the resulting procrastination remind me of my recent experiences wrestling with my dissertation! It’s really amazing what you’ve achieved though, you’re an inspiration to all budding writers. Now take a well-deserved rest and have a great summer. xx
    P.S. Hope the weather in Paris is better than it is in Manchester at the moment, where we have torrential rain. I therefore have no excuse not to be getting on with my dissertation!

    Comment by Helen — June 25, 2007 @ 2:58 pm

  23. The first part of this post sounds a lot like me — particularly the joyless websurfing and panic attacks. I only hope I someday make it to where you are now.

    Comment by la petite americaine — June 25, 2007 @ 3:04 pm

  24. Oh, I wish you all the very best of luck and … if I have got this right … ask the boy down the street if he ever worked out my iPhoto problem!

    Comment by belle — June 25, 2007 @ 3:07 pm

  25. congratulations, petite — we’re rooting for you. oh, and congratulations on your new boy, too.
    : )

    Comment by franko — June 25, 2007 @ 3:10 pm

  26. congrats, mabrouk and all the good things. Life is up and down, but also left and right. Ok non-sense.

    Comment by Bob-i-Licious — June 25, 2007 @ 4:36 pm

  27. Petite, I adore your blog and hearing about life in Paris with dear Tadpole, but I’m not quite sympathizing as much as I feel I ought about this post, or at least the beginning of it.

    Writing can be difficult emotionally, but you don’t even have to deal with the worst part – the rejections and waiting. You have an agent, an editor and you know your book will be published. Imagine all of us poor writers who write without any of those guarantees. I’m writing a novel now too, but I have the added agony of knowing that when I finish the hardest part begins. I have to query and wait. I have to pray and collect rejections. In fact, I may never be published and every moment as I sit typing (all night long because I have a job and school during the day)I sit and think that I must do this exceptionally well, extraordinarily well, because if I don’t I have to suffer in a miserable job all day not doing what I most love. Of course I try to be positive and have faith, but I feel as if my life really depends on writing well. So you are really lucky.

    I’m glad though that you’re almost done. I can’t wait to read your book and I am thrilled for your success, and of course life is good! You live in Paris! When I become a famous writer I am definitely getting an apartment in Paris.

    Comment by Wide Lawns — June 25, 2007 @ 4:42 pm

  28. @Wide Lawns – I know it is an enviable position to be in, but also a stressful one when the book has been “bought” before it is written. All the stress of not wanting to disappoint, of hoping I could live up to people’s (very high) expectations, trying not to imagine a scenario where the publishers decide they have made a terrible mistake and want to pull out…

    And above all, not daring to write about any of these fears until they were firmly behind me.

    Comment by petite — June 25, 2007 @ 5:07 pm

  29. Well, enjoy! Going through the same torture, I can dimly understand what it feels like, and wonder those who enjoy the process of giving birth to a manuscript. Painful and exhausting it is. Congratulations!

    Comment by Souris — June 25, 2007 @ 5:29 pm

  30. I know exactly how you feel – I spent 5 months sat on my own writing my PhD thesis and went through a very similar series of emotions, though I have to say it took me a while after finishing to really find my feet again.

    Congratulations on getting this far, hope you enjoy the summer.

    Comment by Hannah — June 25, 2007 @ 6:31 pm

  31. doesn’t Mr Frog live a few doors down the street????

    Comment by Sally-Ann Tschanz — June 25, 2007 @ 6:43 pm

  32. Hello,

    We would like to do an interview with you about your blog for . We’d like to give you the opportunity to
    give us some insight on the “person behind the blog.”

    It would just take a few minutes of your time. The interview form can
    be submitted online at

    Best regards,

    Mike Thomas

    Comment by Mike Thomas — June 25, 2007 @ 7:08 pm

  33. Yay P’tite!!!
    Well done you! Could you have seen this coming two years ago? Never in a million years. You deserve to be proud of yourself and to take some time off now the hardest work is over. I look forward to reading the fruit of your labours.
    Lots of love

    Comment by Emma — June 25, 2007 @ 7:10 pm

  34. Congratulations for having overcome your anxieties and depressed state of mind. It is, in my opinion, way more important than having finished your 100,000 words draft or met with the boy down the street. Keeping in mind that the three are strongly related, obviously.

    Comment by Chloé — June 25, 2007 @ 7:44 pm

  35. Isn’t it great when life is satisfying and you are stress free? It’s nice that you can look forward to your summer without any clouds hanging over your head.

    Comment by Linda — June 25, 2007 @ 8:00 pm

  36. Congrats! I can’t wait to read your book. I love your writing style. It makes me want to write better. Have a great summer!

    Comment by techgirl — June 25, 2007 @ 8:32 pm

  37. yay, vive Petite Anglaise!

    Now, place your bets, who will play Petite Anglaise when the movie comes out? Suggestions:

    Petite: Gwyneth Paltrow
    Mr Frog: Patrick Swayze
    Tadpole: Shirley Temple
    Lover: Orlando Bloom
    Twunt Boss: Jack Nicholson
    Belleville Boy: Johnny Depp

    Any other suggestions?

    PS: If, in Petite Anglaise 2 (the sequel), there’s a character named FwAB (and there should be, for stories are no good without the gay characters these days + we did pray for you remember?), I’d like Kevin Kline to do me, er… I mean to play me.

    Comment by frog with a blog — June 25, 2007 @ 9:00 pm

  38. Good for you.

    The pressure that you put on yourself is understandable. I love the blog, but this is your life. Writing is now work and earning you a living. Your book is going to be published and if you weren’t feeling any kind of pressure to do your best–I’d be concerned.

    Enjoy the summer and your new man. I think you were just teasing your readers with the term “boy”. Anyway, enjoy him regardless and have fun with Tadpole.

    Summer is a great time to recharge.

    Comment by Diane — June 25, 2007 @ 9:30 pm

  39. Frog with a blog. Absolutely not Gwyneth Paltrow. I think

    Petite – Chloe Sevigny
    Mr Frog – Jake Gyanallanl (you know what I mean)
    Tadpole – Tough one there
    Lover – Benicio del Toro or Richard Gere
    Twunt Boss – William Shatner
    Belleville Boy – Eric Bana

    That is my vote!!

    Comment by sugar007 — June 25, 2007 @ 9:42 pm

  40. Oh my,,,Petite’s lips are far more full and sexy than Gwyneth’s. Although she IS beautiful. Petite is far more clever as well. How does an actress capture that sharp, quick wit? Petite, possibly imitated, never duplicated. I do hope a movie could be made. It would be fantastical, set in Paris, you could make sure the movie captures the feel of it all. Oh, I’m drooling,,,yes! yes!!! Oui! Oui,,,,,,oui!!!!!! uhhh wait. What was I saying again?

    Comment by beaunejewels — June 25, 2007 @ 9:47 pm

  41. Well done — but let’s hear more about the boy down the street !!!!!

    Comment by magillicuddy — June 25, 2007 @ 10:23 pm

  42. Hi catherine,
    just wanted to say Hi! yes the writing process is lonely sometimes. glad to hear the book is coming along.
    warm regards

    Comment by eye prefer paris — June 25, 2007 @ 10:43 pm

  43. Hey Petite,
    I have been a silent watcher of the blog since very near its beginning, I seldom commented (under another name) but I come out of my shell to really give you a big virtual pat on the back, you have an amazing inner strength (yes even despite the hard moments), and that is what makes your blog so fascinating.
    Bonne continuation!

    Comment by Evie — June 25, 2007 @ 10:55 pm

  44. Nice one Petite. There are lots of us, I’m sure, who can’t wait to see the book!

    Comment by Clara — June 25, 2007 @ 11:07 pm

  45. Congrats, Petite ! So good to feel in peace with oneself.

    Comment by Anna — June 25, 2007 @ 11:11 pm

  46. Hi there. First of all, congrats on finishing the book, you should be really pleased. Secondly, I absolutely agree, you simply must get into the mood to enjoy l’été in Paris in style.

    Hope the hangovers to come are plentiful and worth it.

    Comment by Lhomme — June 26, 2007 @ 12:47 am

  47. I feel a bit priviledged, going through the process along with you. Enjoy the journey. We all seem to be.

    Comment by ang04 — June 26, 2007 @ 2:18 am

  48. The second book/album is far harder than the first so give up while you can!!! But keep it secret else your agent will lose interest if she learns she can’t milk you for another decade (unless she’s a human being like you).
    I’m told novelists are impossible to live with so your inconstant romantic inclinations may be well placed.
    But you’ve done it – hurray! If it were your PhD thesis the question would be, Do you want this strain as a full-time career? Is the money & fame a sufficient reward for the ruinous lifestyle?

    You’ve probably noticed I’m not one of your cheer-leaders – but I do admire your helacious stubbornness…and I’ll buy the book. And read it too.

    Comment by andrew — June 26, 2007 @ 2:33 am

  49. Petite can take a holiday on me after the book is published, seeing as I intend on buying one for myself, one for every friend I have, holiday gifts, birthday gifts, anniversary, communion, bar mitzvah, bat mitzvah, birth, graduation, confirmation, divorce celebrations, job promotions, retirements, bridal showers, baby showers, Valentines Day, Sweetest Day, Halloween treats in every bag, house warming, Easter Basket, Christmas stocking stuffers, cheer up gifts, get well gifts, Hannuka, Baptisms, Christenings and Bris. Not that there is an ounce of pressure on you Petite. Not a single smidge of it. I have infinite faith in you!

    Comment by beaunejewels — June 26, 2007 @ 2:38 am

  50. You go girl! Welcome back

    Enjoy the boy & associated “Melty Moments”, a definite treatment for the sad, dark moments.

    Comment by Debbie Barratt — June 26, 2007 @ 3:54 am

  51. Petite – Kate Winslet
    Mr Frog – Jean Reno
    Tadpole – (Shirley Temple ok…why not? I don’t know any child actors Tadpole’s age)
    Lover – Patrick Dempsey
    Twunt Boss – Hugh Laurie (I adore him but he could play the role well I’m sure!)
    Belleville Boy – Brad Pitt

    They would be my choice!

    And, Petite, I just wanted to say that I’ve ‘sensed’ a shift in you, you seem to have let your playful side out lately. You do appear more relaxed nowadays but….who am I to say? :)

    I’m happy you are ok.

    Comment by Karma — June 26, 2007 @ 6:03 am

  52. The writing process, it is said, is much like giving birth. You help to create this entity inside of yourself that needs to see the light of day. It is however, a long labor, and there is not always a sufficient anesthesia that can dull the pain of pushing it out of oneself.

    While I have never tackled writing a book, simply writing articles in the past for professional and other publications gave me the same type of feeling, though on a smaller scale. I am currently writing a script for a 3-5 minute short film, and even that gives me the desire to self-medicate from time-to-time.

    I’ll just keep telling myself to “Push, push, breathe, push……”

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — June 26, 2007 @ 7:23 am

  53. Hugh Laurie as former Boss???!!! DEFINITELY NOT!! He has to be cast as one of Petite’s men/ boys! Probably Lover, in fact, as he hardly qualifies as a “boy” and he is THE most delectable man on TV right now…

    Comment by happyforyou — June 26, 2007 @ 8:34 am

  54. I love the surreal film tangent. Belleville boy is not in the book, mind.

    Hugh Laurie in any role gets my vote so I can have a red carpet bottom groping moment. I’m definitely liking Chloe Sevigny more than Gwyneth, although I think she’s a lot edgier than me…

    Maybe Tadpole will have to be CGI (or a robot?)

    All of this remains, of course, entirely in my dreams.

    Comment by petite — June 26, 2007 @ 8:54 am

  55. I enjoyed this post, which rings very true. As I read through the comments, I had just decided to reply to Wide Lawns (#27) when you (Petite), yourself wrote exactly what I was going to mention

    “@Wide Lawns – I know it is an enviable position to be in, but also a stressful one when the book has been “bought” before it is written. All the stress of not wanting to disappoint, of hoping I could live up to people’s (very high) expectations”.

    All that I would add, then, is that I hope that the period around publication goes smoothly. I expect your nerves will return at that time. To use your chosen metaphor, remember that our children, while always remaining our children, must be allowed to live their own lives too! Beware of tying your fate too closely to that of the book. I’m sure that, intellectually, you see the pitfalls, but unfortunately that does not always prevent our emotions from straying to close to the edge!
    What a curious and paradoxical position to be in: to have an audience before you’ve set pen to paper (anachronistically speaking). Managing those expectations must be hard indeed. I hope you can ringfence the satisfaction of running a successful blog – don’t let anyone mortgage it in the name of a “Higher Art”.
    Personally, (if it makes things any easier), I have a long list of fantastic novels/plays that I will probably never have time to (re)read, but from here at my work-desk I always take a few minutes to look at the latest Petite Anglaise article, and every few days something crops up with which I can relate, or makes me reflect on some little aspect of life. Don’t undervalue what you communicate through your blog in the (however vain or successful) pursuit of a status as a “proper” writer!!! My own expectations of PA at least are not to be found along that gold-paved path.

    Sorry for waffling… Glad all is calm in the eye of the storm.

    Comment by Ajay — June 26, 2007 @ 9:44 am

  56. (I agree wholeheartedly with what andrew (#48) expressed so eloquently)

    Comment by Ajay — June 26, 2007 @ 9:49 am

  57. Petite: Renée Zellweger

    Mr Frog: Daniel Auteuil

    Tadpole: Dakota Fanning

    Lover: Benicio Del Toro

    Twunt boss: Warren Clarke

    Comment by Dumdad — June 26, 2007 @ 10:10 am

  58. I strongly disagree with #48. I want the second book, and the third, … I obviously have no experience of this, but hopefully the second one will be easier…

    Comment by Pierre L — June 26, 2007 @ 10:12 am

  59. Renee? Noooooo! How will I ever shake off the Bridget Jones comparisons? Cue interviews with Renee about how many cream cakes she had to eat to achieve an authentic petite anglaise bottom.

    And Dakota Fanning? She scares me (and luckily is too old).

    Comment by petite — June 26, 2007 @ 10:13 am

  60. Actually, I was thinking Jerry Maguire rather than Bridget Jones. But, okay, recasting:

    Petite: Cameron Diaz

    I agree about Dakota being scarey; perhaps Tadpole can play herself.

    Comment by Dumdad — June 26, 2007 @ 10:49 am

  61. On a practical note: a full-sized Apple keyboard (£20) and a laptop stand (or, if you’re feeling cheap, two large books) saves on hunching. Sorry, I ought to have mentioned that a while back.

    Comment by Puplet — June 26, 2007 @ 12:20 pm

  62. Ooo, I like the suggestion of Kate Winslet. She doesn’t look like Petite, but she has a ‘real’ quality that the other suggestions haven’t had. Less an actor, more a woman. Much more like Petite Anglaise.

    Comment by Milk & 2 Sugars — June 26, 2007 @ 1:12 pm

  63. Kate Winslet? Purleeeze! She is SO unsexy. Give Petite some credit.

    Comment by Mancunian Lass — June 26, 2007 @ 1:42 pm

  64. do you admire the beatles petite?

    Comment by consumptive usage — June 26, 2007 @ 1:46 pm

  65. Unsexy? Kate Winslet? On the contrary, I think she is yummy. And would be my first choice, for many, many reasons.

    Comment by petite — June 26, 2007 @ 1:51 pm

  66. Well done!

    Now you know why so many struggling writers are slightly mad alcoholics.

    And why so many successful ones have got past that stage.

    I’m terribly proud of you – and I hardly know you. Imagine how proud those who love you must be.

    And one day, when Tadpole is older, you’ll come home and notice a gap on the shelf. And your daughter will be lying on her bed, reading a book. She won’t admit it – because she’ll probably be a teenager then – but she’ll be proud of you too.

    Comment by Damian — June 26, 2007 @ 2:15 pm

  67. A lovely post, a pleasure to read you. And such positive vibrations and news. Le fond et la forme are so ‘on’.

    On the film roles: Kate Winslet my fave.
    And Roman Duris for one of the French men!

    Comment by Roberta Collins — June 26, 2007 @ 2:31 pm

  68. I’d go for Cameron Diaz
    Mr Frog : Luke Wilson
    Tadpole : yes, Dakota Fanning. she can act smaller
    Lover : Clive Owen
    Twunt Boss : Bill Nighy
    Belleville boy : Roman Duris

    Comment by Flighty — June 26, 2007 @ 2:44 pm

  69. Ah, all geniuses are troubled souls… It is as if any creative process required a heavy dose of neuroses to go with it, quite possibly because any creative process is partly introspective. Having to create on cue and on deadline is much different from doing one’s own thing in one’s own time, and not everyone is able to make the transition from one to the other. You’ve done it though, so hurray for that!

    Comment by Ariel — June 26, 2007 @ 2:56 pm

  70. yep, totally agree that Kate Winslet should be Petite!

    Petite, you’ve been haunting me for the past week and today I finally gave in – went to the british shop and bought birds eye fish fingers, cooked them up and ate them in a sandwhich with ketchup…

    you happy now?

    Comment by Sharon — June 26, 2007 @ 3:13 pm

  71. Kate Winselt unsexy? What planet are you on Lass?? ;-) She is curvy, beautiful, very, very erotic and sexy…..And a good actress to boot!

    Comment by Dave of the Lake — June 26, 2007 @ 3:28 pm

  72. I TOTALLY agree on Kate Winslet — excellent choice! And very sexy, even more so in many of her more recent roles. As well as a fab actress, as has already been stated.

    But seriously, Cameron Diaz? Now THAT sounds crazy to me! First of all, she’s American! And in my mind she does not suit the sensibility of Petite Anglaise at all.

    ‘Course, that’s just my 2 cents!

    Comment by Alice — June 26, 2007 @ 5:20 pm

  73. LOL! Looks like I scored some brownie points…YAY! ;-P
    (I maintain Hugh Laurie would be good, he can act like a twunt, I’m sure!)

    Comment by Karma — June 26, 2007 @ 6:18 pm

  74. Replying to Flighty, #68… Dakota Fanning has a little sister, Elle – blonde, beautiful, who knows how to act. She worked with Hugh Laurie in the episode “Need to know”… She is nine, but Tadpole can be older if the script so requires!

    Comment by Magda — June 26, 2007 @ 7:07 pm

  75. Petite: Kate Hudson or Jennifer Aniston

    Mr Frog: Benoît Magimel

    Tadpole: Madylin Sweeten

    Lover: the guy who played the husband in LeDivorce yum

    Twunt boss: Hugh Laurie

    Comment by Jules — June 26, 2007 @ 8:31 pm

  76. Oh yes and definitely see Kevin Kline doing the Frog in petite the sequel.

    Comment by Jules — June 26, 2007 @ 8:31 pm

  77. I could picture most of your alter egos. Save Chloe Sevigny who I decided to look up on google images……

    Comment by meredic — June 26, 2007 @ 9:00 pm

  78. Thank you for illuminating my day by sharing your happiness!

    Comment by reinette — June 26, 2007 @ 9:24 pm

  79. Winslet is pretty good call – although she’s not a natural blonde.

    Cate Blanchett? Hmmm, not British…

    Maybe you could have an unknown but talented British actress and it could propel them to stardom!

    In related “who will play the part of a blogger” news, did you hear that Billie Piper is to play Belle de Jour in a TV series on ITV2? Interesting choice, I always thought of Belle as rather posh and haughty…

    Comment by anxious — June 26, 2007 @ 10:22 pm

  80. Petite Anglaise – Petite Anglaise
    Tadpole – The dancing baby from Ally McBeal
    Mr Frog – Frog with a blog
    Boss – Ian McKellen
    Lover – Daniel Craig
    Belleville Boy – Ewen McGregor

    Comment by Hywel Mallett — June 26, 2007 @ 10:24 pm

  81. Congratulations on the writing!

    I kind of cringed when you wrote “Life is Good”, as that particular saying become popular after I left the English-speaking world (if you will allow me to say that about the States) to come to France. I do find the slogan on tee-shirts when I go to the airport in my native “Amérique profonde”.

    Somehow I think that drinking to excess befits a writer. So it’s off to a good start you are!

    Comment by Lost in France — June 27, 2007 @ 1:00 am

  82. This post has provided me with such comfort, at this very moment. I had finally retired to bed, after feeling the same level of anxiety and discomfort with myself, not exactly for the same reasons, but having been there many times. I started out with writing just for pleasure before taking it on at Uni level…and since then it has become such a pressure to write, because I have a degree in writing, everyone expects me to be THAT writer…Only recently I have been able to start again…for myself and not for anyone else…but the burden and the guilt still haunts me. Why is that do you think?
    So I was having all these thoughts and I decided to write about them (entry: “countdown holiday (-5 days)”), before proceeding to just read, to ease my heavy head…and I came round to your post…and oh, how I long to be in that place where you are now…perhaps not with the boy from a few houses down, on something equally fulfilling, a goal, a prospect. At least I get the feeling that I too, will get there, someday. Thanks Petite, and good luck.
    (sorry for the hideously long post)

    Comment by Sarrouche — June 27, 2007 @ 2:55 am

  83. Wow #66, your words were indeed beautiful. The vibe is great round this blog. I love it!

    Comment by Sarrouche — June 27, 2007 @ 3:01 am

  84. Congratulations on reaching this milestone! The birth metaphor is so apt… Have a wonderful summer (just think: sleep deprivation of a whole different nature!).

    Comment by EB-B — June 27, 2007 @ 6:16 am

  85. Congratulations on the second draft. You should be more confident and positive in yourself!! and who is the boy you have been sharing melty moments with? Need to know. I’m hooked have saved your blog in my favs.

    Comment by Swarovski chick — June 27, 2007 @ 8:57 am

  86. Forget about the others, the film part has to go to Kelly Reilly!!!!!

    Comment by parkin pig — June 27, 2007 @ 9:41 am

  87. Congratulations on both book draft and boyfriend, Petite. The best things in life seldom come easily.. you have worked for them, now savour the fruits of your labours. :)

    Comment by bonkers — June 27, 2007 @ 9:44 am

  88. Was nice to see you with your friend yesterday at PBTIL 9… I really enjoyed our “sextoy” talk ;)!

    Comment by Emmanuel Vivier / — June 27, 2007 @ 1:03 pm

  89. Um, correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought that was mostly Meg talking, and me blushing…

    Comment by petite — June 27, 2007 @ 1:35 pm

  90. Ahem…since as a male I am not allowed to call women ‘girls’, I would like query your use of the word ‘boy’.

    Comment by dan — June 27, 2007 @ 5:01 pm

  91. I think I was speaking for many other readers, Emmanuel, when I said that we would not object to product placement in Petite Anglaise as long as it were the toy-variety…

    Comment by Le Meg — June 27, 2007 @ 6:04 pm

  92. People, aren’t we taking things a little too fast? Petite’s book hasn’t even taken its final shape yet, let alone been published. Why don’t we wait until it comes out in early 2008, all rush out and get our copies (please don’t let them forget Waterstones Amsterdam!), read the book, and then start thinking about who ought to play whom in the (possible) film?
    Apart from that I find it strange that most of the actors suggested for Mr. Frog are in their mid 50s. If I am not mistaken, Mr. Frog is about the same age as Petite, and Tadpole is also his first child. Not that I’m prying, you understand. But that’s my impression from a year’s worth of following this blog. And what language actor should play him, depends of course entirely on the book we have yet to read.

    Comment by Penny in Amsterdam — June 27, 2007 @ 8:33 pm

  93. My vote would go…:

    Petite: Julie Delpy

    Mr Frog: Vincent Cassel

    Tadpole: herself

    Lover: Colin Firth

    Twunt boss: Hugh Grant

    Belleville Boy: Johnny Depp

    Have a great summer.

    Comment by LKH — June 27, 2007 @ 9:13 pm

  94. Will the film be in french with english subtitles?

    And will they include that fantastic addition to the english language, ‘twunt’, I do hope so…

    Comment by Steve... — June 27, 2007 @ 10:49 pm

  95. Hugh Grant as the twunt boss, that’s fabulous!! I’m giggling myself until I tinkle. Please no Renee (Bridget) her eyes go all squinty sometimes. I agree with casting a superb unknown authentic English girl/woman. An unknown for tadpole is a brilliant idea as well. Give someone a hand up so to speak. I don’t want to wait to dream of the movie, just because the book hasn’t been published yet. Why waste the time to amuse one’s self with such delicious pursuits?

    Comment by beaunejewels — June 27, 2007 @ 11:51 pm

  96. Wahey go Petite! And a new boy! Hope the weather is slighlty more suitable for romance over there, although I suppose you could always snuggle up under a brolly.

    Comment by Sister Louise — June 28, 2007 @ 12:17 am

  97. Wow, merci pour l’inspiration. Apprecier la beaute d’ete.

    Comment by Kirsten — June 28, 2007 @ 3:09 am

  98. @#79-since when is Cate Blanchett not British?

    Comment by suzanne — June 28, 2007 @ 9:04 am

  99. Cate is Australian.

    My boyfriend (gah, I actually said it) has a soft spot for Cate Blanchett, but she is older than me… And beautiful, but not me. I still vote for Winslet. It has a lot to do with her performance in Extras.

    Comment by petite — June 28, 2007 @ 9:37 am

  100. No, not Hugh grant as The Twunt. I want to do it – please, please, can I do a cameo as The Twunt!

    And who will play the commenters – you have to call us in as extras. We can be sitting in the background in cafes and things.

    And Captain Anna (of Little Red Boat) has to do a speaking part – ’cause she’s had formal training. She’d be dead good. Actually, Captain Anna should play Captain Anna.

    Comment by Damian — June 28, 2007 @ 10:50 am

  101. Petite said, “My boyfriend (gah, I actually said it) …”

    Petite has a boyfriend, Petite has a boyyyfriend! :-)

    Comment by bonkers — June 28, 2007 @ 4:51 pm

  102. ohhhhh to be an extra (leaving comments) in the great movie of Petite! A greater dream could not be accomplished! I am usually lounging in my canopy bed, with a laptop and cheese of some sort while reading. Sounds simple enough! Hugs, this is fun.

    Comment by beaunejewels — June 28, 2007 @ 11:18 pm

  103. Yippee! Revel in it. Happy summer vacation. 100K words, even if you jettison 78K of them, is a significant accomplishment right there. Given the words with which you regale us regularly, you might retain more than that – better than most writers. Here’s to the new career! Isn’t that what we all *really* go to Paris for in our deep secret hearts? To get new lovers and become writers?

    Comment by Alethea — June 29, 2007 @ 12:01 am

  104. Damian is so right and creative, there should be a part for the commenters in PA2.

    Now re: the toy talk, are we talking Petite Anglaise Doll that says Twunt when you press a button on her back? or are we talking Inflatable Petite Anglaise?

    Comment by frog with a blog — June 29, 2007 @ 12:13 am

  105. Congratulations, you’re a writer, anxiety and all. Enjoy the summer.

    Comment by dawn — June 29, 2007 @ 1:57 pm

  106. How exciting for you, Petite! It’s lonely and arduous work, but now you have the prized draft to work from. It must be so refreshing to get to the point where you can transcend the heavy details and “be in the moment”, because that’s the best place.

    And a new beau to boot! Excellent!

    Comment by Gruntled — June 29, 2007 @ 3:22 pm

  107. Congratulations indeed; for getting this far along in the process and surviving at the same time!

    Comment by Dean — June 30, 2007 @ 6:14 am

  108. Wow, that was so moving.
    Congratulations on your achievement, though, in the end, only you will realise how much you deserve it. The feeling must be exhilarating! Half way through my final year of school, I can completely relate to your earlier feelings : the panic attacks ring especially true. Year 12 English Studies involves essay after essay, all void of creativity – I feel robbed of something I once found pleasure in. The end is fast approaching and my grades are only average. God only knows how many doors I’ve closed. I’ll make sure I buy a copy of the finished work when they ship to Australia. Good Luck!

    Comment by Myles — June 30, 2007 @ 3:07 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: