Learning in Québec

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I'm someone who began learning French when I was 53. I took a BA in French at 60 but wasn't happy with my level of comprehension (though I read very well). So, having really become comfortable with Spanish only by living on the Mexican border, I'm spending more time in Québec and near the border of Quebec, in Vermont, to see if I can do that here with French. I want to encourage others to do the same.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Don't Cry graffiti in the beautiful city

In Quebec City someone has taken the time to write in many places, in English, "Don't Cry." It's there on rue St. Jean, again back by steps going up from Bas Ville to the Faubourg St. Jean Baptiste, and elsewhere — perhaps throughout the city.

I told my young friend Mathieu how much I appreciated this graffiti, and he said he liked it too. In the first place, it's refreshing to see something you can read. The ubiquitous tagging is so tiring. (My favorite before "Don't Cry" in Quebec City was "Don't Diet, Riot" — seen long ago in Germany, the only time I was there.)

Graffiti, by the way, is the plural of graffito. I suppose it was once an archaeologist's term for such as cave drawings.

"Don't Cry" is a kind of socio-cultural cave drawing, n'est-ce pas?

I think of it often. Not because I'm sad, because this is no time to be sad when we're barely two weeks past the election. No, "Don't Cry" comes to mind as the subject of some sweet little poem that somebody should write, though as yet I haven't done.

When I returned to Texas there was a stack of New Yorkers waiting to be read, and I eagerly obliged. It's Heaven to have that many ready-to-read New Yorkers. Almost as lovely as being in Quebec City. And the best story so far? "Don't Cry," by Mary Gaitskill, in the June 9 & 16, 2008 issue.

One wonders. On se demande?

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