A Brief History of Famous French Fools, Farce, and Fanfare

Bouffon, by William Merritt Chase

From the time of ancient kings, people have appreciated humor arising from the behavior and appearance of fools. Throughout history, such characters have taken many forms. Comedic actors have created entertaining personas that reappear in performance after performance. Others adapt idiotic conduct to real-world figures in an attempt to mock…

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Into the Lobster Pot—French Immersion in Montpellier

Montpellier

For the last two weeks, I’ve been taking an online course on writing creative nonfiction. The instructor, Josh Rivkin, has provided a steady stream of informative tips, interesting reading assignments, and inspiring prompts. My blog for this week features the beginning of a longer story about my trip to Montpellier,…

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Rebuilding Notre Dame, Painstaking Battle Between New and Old

Notre Dame on Fire

This spring will mark the 3-year anniversary of the devastating fire that destroyed the roof of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. A day after the inferno, President Emmanuel Macron announced to the world that within 5 years France would “rebuild Notre Dame Cathedral, more beautiful than ever”. Since then,…

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Returning to Wonderland, A Trek in My Husband’s Spiritual Homeland

Evening in Glacier Basin

In 1992, my husband Andy and I camped for 4 nights at Mount Rainier National Park in Washington state. It was our first trip to this spectacular park—a magnificent wilderness that ironically, Andy was indifferent to visiting. While hiking one day, we spotted a sign for the Wonderland Trail—a ~100-mile…

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Escaping Insanity, My Father’s Days on the Farm

The day my father, Charles Neubrecht, headed off to college, his mother Lucile pleaded with him not to go. In telling the story, my dad would paint my grandmother as a loving but nervous woman who relied heavily on her youngest son. In contrast, my dad’s characterization of himself depicted…

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