A warm 'THANK YOU' to my readers from all over the world

ShadowArtist by Norman Rockwell - Courtesy SAAM

When I started blogging, I felt very scared. Blogging was very strange, oh so strange!

I have been keeping a ‘secret’ diary for quite a long time, off and on... which is what a diary is for. Some days are quite eventful and some are really boring.

Then I got caught in the new craze called the web! And the web created blogging.

Blogging is quite different from keeping a diary because you are no longer dealing with those nice notebooks that you keep hiding because, well because what you write in them is extremely personal and especially not history.

Blogging is to open one's life, one's ideas and feelings to the world, to unknown readers. Opening up and sharing.

I live a very quiet life. Some would laugh about me living a very quiet life... but for me, it is quiet enough besides a few unsavoury ‘encounters’ with cancer.

My only son is quite grown-up now and he’s living a very exciting life far away from us.

And yes, there is a ‘us’.

Those of you who are reading regularly my posts know that I love to call my better half ‘Popeye’! It’s not really fitting except when Spring and Summer come and we put our boat back to sea...

Popeye is a workaholic seasoned world traveller. (Among other things.)

Even though I like to be ‘Olive Oyl’, my name should be ‘Penelope’.

Yes, ‘Penelope’ as in the Odyssey. Except for two points: I do not have 108 suitors waiting on my doorstep while Popeye/Ulysses is away and I do not weave a burial shroud for whoever it may be and especially not for myself.

Oh, and yes, there is a third point: I’m no longer young. And I never was extremely beautiful. And I’m sure I could still find hundreds of other points.

So I became a storyteller. ‘The Storyteller’ like so many other people.

I’ve always loved to tell stories. I’m known as being very imaginative. Maybe too much, my men would add.

But I love to make up stories... which I do best as a photographer. (Incidentally my professional website should be on line pretty soon. I’ll keep you informed. Then you’ll understand fully what I mean.)

So back to storytelling. Back to ‘The Storyteller’ and ‘Mammodouy’s Stories’.

When I was growing up in a very small village in Southern France, there was no television. (Yes, I am this old or/and I spent a lot of time in a very backward area. Your choice.) At night, families and friends would gather and... tell stories.

My Bon-Papa Mathieu was an extraordinary storyteller. I still remember most of his stories.

Teen years. My friends and my cousins loved to take long walks at night around the village. Sometimes we sat in the graveyard. We were always telling stories just for fun . Some were true. Some were pure fiction.

I remember that we played a game. One of us would start with a sentence which someone else would end. Another sentence would follow and so on. Some stories were great. Some were quickly abandoned and then we’d end up making up the world that would be ours someday. (I know this kind of storytelling happens in ‘Little Women’. Let me imagine we invented the game.)

All of us being more literary persons, we never talked about science. And so we never realized that our world would be changing very quickly, much faster that it ever did for our parents and grandparents.

When our Swee’ Pea was a child, we just about ruined his social life. You see, we had those weird ideas about books and stories and no tv. From time to time now, he’s been complaining about being the only kid at school not to know what was going on the after school tv programs for kids.

Well, since we can’t go back in time (and since we’d probably still be very intent on ruining his social life), let’s say that we told him lots of stories (I mostly did but Popeye was very good at telling stories in the middle of the night too, especially crocodile stories.)

Some were from books and some were made up.

I loved so much to tell stories that when our son started to go to elementary school, I even invaded his world! With stories again.

His school was extremely opened to parents with good will. A lot of kids were coming from broken homes. Some were refugees (boat people mainly at the time, with life stories so horrifying that some children had literally quit talking).

I volunteered to... guess what? I volunteered to spend one afternoon a week at school to tell stories to those kids because after a lot of brainstorming, it became obvious that storytelling would bring some of these kids back to a much better life. Great stories can heal and protect.

The headmistress and the teachers questioned me a lot about my project. I passed and this was one of my most impressive and humbling experiences. In the beginning, it was hard to tell stories to children so quiet and withdrawn, some with a limited knowledge of French. Then most of them started to look at me. By the end of the year, all of them were there, really there.

I remember that I did not dare to use my own stories. I’ll be forever thankful to Kipling and his story about ‘The Cat who walked by himself’. This one was brilliant. The kids loved it so much...

There I am, rambling and rambling. Yes, I know, I am telling you the story about the stories I used to tell the kids who never were told stories and whose life was not to be talked about. (No story there.)

Back to you, my dear readers... because yes, you are my dear readers. I know some of you, of course.

But since Blogger added stats, and I discovered them... I’m flabbergasted. Really. Some of you live in very faraway places. The wonders of the web! And you read my blogs. Again and again.

Even though I know that in some countries, it is very hard to have access to Blogger. Obviously most of you found a way because you keep coming back.

Whenever I 'check' my stats, I get very excited about the unknown reader from... who’s reading my blog at the very minute I’m getting ready to post a story.

I don’t know most of you and I never will, probably. You very rarely leave a comment even though I’d be delighted to hear from you. When I talk about «hearing from you», it does not mean «getting praises». It means 'feed back', 'sharing'...

The mere fact that you keep on reading my stories is one of the most wonderful events in my life!

To me, you are like candles lit on my path, my storytelling path.

I know, I should have come up with something less corny but I feel so sentimental tonight.

*Good Luck, and Good Night* and *Thank You* - *Merci Beaucoup*

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