Dec 18, 2011

Wonderful Video of French "Time for Outrage" Author

We're ordering his book today as we just stumbled upon it on the Twelve website. Here's a snippet of what they say about him:
Rejecting the dictatorship of world financial markets and defending the social values of modern democracy, 93-old Stéphane Hessel -- Resistance leader, concentration camp survivor, and former UN speechwriter -- reminds us that life and liberty must still be fought for, and urges us to reclaim those essential rights we have permitted our governments to erode since the end of World War II.

Dec 7, 2011

Dec 6, 2011

Tanya Byrne

Tanya Byrne
Well done to the lovely Londoner Tania Byrne!

Her debut novel Heart-Shaped Bruise is going to be published next May by Headline.

Tanya started the novel at La Muse and is now really excited about writing the next one. (Headline also bought up the rights to that one too.) 

The story is about Emily Koll, the most notorious inmate of Archway Young Offenders Institution. Through her journals, she relates the story of how far she went to get revenge on the girl whose testimony sent her father to prison.

This is what the commisioning editor had to say about Tanya's novel:
Her writing is stunning and we’re convinced she’s got a fabulous career ahead of her.
We're so excited for Tanya. Again, well done!

Oct 20, 2011

Jill Satterfield - Winter Yoga Retreats

New Year’s Yoga Retreat:
December 27-January 3
Winter Yoga Retreat:
February 2-9
200 hr. Yoga Teacher Training Retreat:
February 27-March 15
About Jill:

Jill Satterfield was named one of the "four leading Buddhist and Yoga teachers in the country" by the Shambhala Sun Magazine and is a pioneer in the field of mind body awareness. She has been teaching and consulting for over 20 years.
Jill is the founder of Vajra Yoga & Meditation, a synthesis of yoga and Buddhism that combines meditation, yoga postures, visualization and contemplation practices.

She is also the founder and Director of the School for Compassionate Action: Meditation, Yoga and Education for Communities in Need and Those Who Serve Them, a not for profit that trains teachers and offers classes to at-risk youth, people suffering with chronic pain and illnesses, PTSD, and addictions.

Jill turned to meditation and yoga 30 years ago to successfully heal from a debilitating physical condition coupled with acute chronic pain while in art school. In 1992, she extended her exploration of the integral relationship of the mind and body through the study of Buddhism. Jill is on the founding faculty of Spirit Rock Meditation Center’s Mindfulness for Yoga Training and the Kripalu Institute’s Integral Leadership Program for young adults. Jill was scholar and teacher in residence at the Kripalu Center in 2004. She has been featured in the New York Times, Crains, NY Post, MORE, Self, Marie Claire, Tricycle and Yoga Journal amongst others.

In Her Words:

Sometimes we leave home, forget about our body, and neglect our hearts. Our mind gets scattered to the winds as we become consumed by life’s details, looking outwardly, not inwardly.
During this 7-day yoga and meditation retreat our yoga practice will bring us back to the earth through the vehicle of the body, re-discovering alignment, remembering space, sweeping the body physically and energetically clean.
We will practice meditation on its own as well as through each yoga asana and in general mindfulness for awareness, re-centering, renewed intention, and re-kindling focus.
Most importantly, we’ll see our way back home through the eyes of our heart, opening windows of kindness so that we might take care, accept and embrace ourselves and others.
Please bring journals and a camera to record your thoughts and the practices that we will cover. You will leave with wonderful memories, a refreshed and invigorated practice, and many prescriptions for a home practice of meditation, mindful asana and pranayama.


Yoga Workshop:
500.00 Euros.
Calliope: 870 Euros (queen-size double, private salon, ensuite toilet, spa-style bath, shower)
Erato: 625 Euros (double with ensuite toilet, bath and shower)
Clio: 670 Euros (double with ensuite toilet, bath and shower)
Euterpe: 625 Euros (double with ensuite shower)
Thalia: 625 Euros (double with ensuite shower)
Melpomene: 570 Euros (double with shared toilet and shower)
Terpsichore: 570 Euros (double with shared toilet, bath and shower)
Polyhymnia: 570 Euros (double with shared toilet, bath and shower)
Urania: 570 Euros (double with shared toilet, bath and shower)
Chapelle Cottage: 1070 Euros (two double bedrooms that share a shower and toilet)
Check out the rooms here.
Accommodation fee includes:
  • evening meals
  • local transportation (airport pickup, a trip to the grocery store on the way up to La Muse, and departure drop off).
  • Couples Welcome. There is a 25% double occupancy fee for couples.
  • Participants shop for and prepare their own breakfasts and lunches.
We look forward to meeting you.

Aug 23, 2011

Video and Photos of "Scenes from a Village" Expo


So here's the video of Deborah's Expo that we promised:

You can find out more about Deborah here.

Deborah, just before people came to see her paintings...

Deborah talking to Kerry and the American playwright Nora Seilheimer
John having fun talking to the locals about the paintings of their dogs an houses...

Filou waiting patiently for some food from the annual village Aperitif

It was a lot of fun...

Aug 6, 2011

"Scenes from a Village" - Deborah Clarke - Expo

Above is the poster for Deborah Clarke's "Scenes From a Village" which is showing here today and tomorrow!

Deborah lives in Grenoble and has been to La Muse three time now. You can check out more of her great watercolors here.

Aug 3, 2011

Going fast: Reduced Rates for August/September Retreat!

We still have rooms available for the August/September retreat.

So, a call to all former Musers: we are reducing the high season retreat rate to 600 Euros for the three weeks, on a first come first serve basis!

That's nearly 400 Euros off on Clio and 335 Euros off on Euterpe!

And for all of you out there who have not been to La Muse before: we are reducing the high season retreat rate to 750 Euros for the three weeks retreat, again on a first come first serve basis!

That means nearly 200 Euros off Euterpe and 245 Euros off Clio!

Email us now to book your room or please spread the news!

Jun 6, 2011

Colline de l'hirondelle

Been a while since we posted anything as we've been renovating and full at La Muse...

Anyway, just wanted to let you all know about our friends' Didier and Jenn's great wine at the Colline de l'hirondelle.

It's in Douzens, not that far from here.

At left is their latest wine ad. Classic!

Apr 17, 2011

More adventures in wild food

Oh, look, Kerry brought home a big box of grass to cook for dinner...

Wait! It's a little leek! A wild little leek... 

 Clean 'em up, throw 'em in a pan with some butter and lemon or olive oil, and you've got ...

Dinner! Savory, slightly bitter, a meaty dish. Wild food is so nourishing, it's filling. To fill it out into frittata: Pour in four eggs beaten with a grated chunk of Parmesan, and bake it for 20 minutes. So good you'll scurry out for more.

Mar 16, 2011

Life in Labastide, cont'd

 Oh, it's spring and I just can't get enough wild asparagus. See that sweet slender thing offering itself up?

Last Sunday we had lunch with our friends the Darnells (Tom's a painter) at their home in the Minervois. We took their truck (the two dogs Betty and Gladys sat in the front and the people piled in the back) to a green oak forest nearby and hunted like wild things, running bent at 90 degrees through the underbrush eyes peeled to the forest floor. 

We ate well that night: risotto

Feb 15, 2011

Muser art to be featured on online gallery...

 Send us your art! La Muse is looking for art created at La Muse for an online gallery to be featured on our new website. It's still a work-in-progress, created by John our resident e-marketing and Internet optimization guru.

John's gives workshops to attendees about creating one's own website and blog, and how to use social networking tools to get their stuff out there, up there, and seen. Our new site is a good example of how to use those tools... Type in "writer retreat France" and we come up first out of more than 6 million websites!

Please email your images to by April 1, if possible. We'd like to have the gallery completed in time for our TENTH ANNIVERSARY in May.

We love this work by Marilyn Gaffney, an Irish artist at La Muse in November...

Marilyn Gaffney created several other amazing works during her stay here.

Feb 12, 2011

Life in Labastide

The beautiful thing about winter is that all that chimney smoke makes everything soft. I plan to do a pencil drawing of the above landscape, and maybe a painting of the village in late afternoon sunlight. Someday, when I have the time...

For the first time in our ten years of doing La Muse (yes, it'll be ten years in May) we decided to close for the month of February. Now, that doesn't mean we're sleeping until 11 and reading books by the fire all day. It doesn't really mean we're on vacation. But it does mean we do have more time together and we do have our weekends free. And so this afternoon, we went for a long and lazy walk to the rocks.

Feb 10, 2011

Life in Labastide

Umbilicus rupestris (navelwort, penny-pies, wall pennywort). A yummy succulent for winter salads
After getting Seamus and Fionn from the mini school bus the other evening we relished the warm winter sun (temps well into the 60s) on a walk with Gloria to the spring for some fresh source water. It was Seamus's idea to stop on the way to pick some fresh nombrils de Venus (which translates beautifully to "Venus bellybuttons") for that night's salad.
Seamus and Fionn pick greens.
Still-life Bounty: someone's gotta paint these
Fionn and Seamus love to gather wild food

Penny-pies (as they are called in English) grow all over our village in late autumn and winter on the walls, stone steps, and along the base of houses (avoid if within reach of dog wee).  They taste like sprouts, great with a garlicky lemon mustard seed dressing.
They also have a medicinal use -- applied topically, their juice is used by locals to banish warts.
Gloria learning young to live off the land

A fresh finish to split pea fritters, red pepper relish and tahini dressing

Stay tuned for more "Life in Labastide" entries... the reasons we love living where we do, and part of what makes La Muse an amazing experience.

Feb 9, 2011

Madrid shops hire graffiti artists

How cool is Madrid...

On Sunday they got a load of graffiti artists - over 130 from all over Europe, from Bristol to Milan - to paint their shop shutters. They did 140 shop shutters. Classic...

Here's the article in AFP.

Feb 8, 2011

Google Doodle

Love the animation Google put up today.

It's inspired by the French science fiction writer Jules Verne (Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea).

He would have been 183 today...

Feb 7, 2011

Michael Cunningham: A life trying to "burrow into these little bastards' minds and hearts..."

There's a good article in The Guardian: Michael Cunningham: A life in writing...

Here's what he has to say about the novel. Particularly like the bolded bit below:
"Never more so than in 2011, I feel like a certain interiority is what the novel can offer that no other medium can. I love movies, I love television, I love narratives of all kinds. The novel remains the most effective means of telling a reader what it's like to be somebody else. You can burrow into these little bastards' minds and hearts. And I often find novels that don't do that to be a little unsatisfying. Why would I read a book that doesn't take me some place that otherwise I couldn't go? Watch The Wire. Watch The Sopranos."
 And here's another nice line on Madame Bovary:
"Flaubert took this shitty, shallow little person, and looked at her so intently that he made her a great figure of literature."
Or this one:
"One of the great things about the novel – and one of the terrible things about writing a novel – is that it takes so long. It's so much about going sentence, by sentence, by sentence."

Feb 4, 2011

Inspirational Indian writer and the death of the book?

Just read this short article on Main street.

Here's a bit of the second paragraph:
Consumers will purchase 381 million e-books by 2013 – quadruple the total purchases made in 2010 – and bring total revenue to $2.7 billion that year, according to the report. Calling this “the next big gold rush,” researchers project that e-book sales will grow at an even faster rate than mobile apps over the same period.

And in another story an Indian doctor and writer has donated his award money to encouraging other writers.

Dhruba Jyoti Borah, who lives in the North Eastern state of Assam in India, has donated his entire Sahitya Akademi Award money and the royalties received from his award-winning book Katha Rantnakar for instituting awards to encourage young Assamese writers. 

Fair play to him!

Feb 3, 2011

Apple making more money from Books...

The opening paragraph of an article in the LA Times about Apple's Apps:

The New York Times set off a flurry of stories over the past couple of days when it reported that Apple had stopped Sony from selling e-books in the Sony Reader iPhone app. Apple instructed Sony and other app developers to stop steering users to their websites to buy products. Instead, they were told to make sales directly through the apps -- where Apple would be entitled to a 30% cut. 
So, there's an uproar about this? I understand but don't we have to first ask the questions like one of the commentators left at the end of the article:
Can you buy from anyone but Amazon on a Kindle? No. Can you buy from anyone other than Sony on a Reader? No. From anyone but B&N with a Nook? Negative. And the FTC is going to come down on Apple? I don't think so... 

Feb 2, 2011

American artists wins at Angouleme

Comic book artist Art Spiegelman just won the top prize for his work at France's Angouleme world comic strip festival.

He's best known as the creator of "Maus," left, a fable of his Jewish father Vladek's experiences in the Holocaust. Hitler and the Germans are drawn as cats and the Holocaust victims as mice. It's the only comic book to ever win a Pulitzer Prize.

R. Crumb is the only other American to win the French prize.

The grand jury prize also went to another American, David Mazzucchelli, for his graphic novel "Asterios Polyp".

Mazzucchelli is best known for his Daredevil and Batman illustrations, working with writer Frank Miller.

Feb 1, 2011

StreetView for Art!

Ok, Google gave us StreetView, but now they're doing the same for art?:

Explore museums from around the world, discover and view hundreds of artworks at incredible zoom levels, and even create and share your own collection of masterpieces.

Here's their promo:

Isn't that cool. To see just how amazing it is you can check out their website Art Project or play the video below to see what we mean:

Here are the galleries/places they've done it with... how fun...

Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin - Germany
Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian, Washington DC - USA
The Frick Collection, NYC - USA
Gemäldegalerie, Berlin - Germany
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC - USA
MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art, NYC - USA
Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid - Spain
Museo Thyssen - Bornemisza, Madrid - Spain
Museum Kampa, Prague - Czech Republic
The National Gallery, London - UK
Palace of Versailles - France
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam - The Netherlands
The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg - Russia
State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow - Russia
Tate Britain, London - UK
Uffizi Gallery, Florence - Italy
Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam - The Netherlands

Jan 31, 2011

Silent Witnesses

We posted about Daniel Brown's new site here the other day, but we just wanted to let you guys know what he's working on right now as it's directly relevant to La Muse and the village - a new series of work called "Silent Witnesses."

It's the first set of nine drawings in the series called "Pathways and Passages” and how:

"seemingly ordinary or unseen architectural elements return them to the consciousness of a community, acknowledging them as living “members” of that community.  The selected architectural elements define the persona of each village, and have acted as silent witnesses to its history."

You can check out a slideshow of his beautiful new images here

Jan 28, 2011


There's a good short article here in The Economist book section about the book Examined Lives: From Socrates to Nietzsche, by James Miller (FSG).

It contains:
11 biographical sketches of thinkers who tried to tread in Socrates’s footsteps, plus one on Socrates himself
and here's what it says about the French ones.

preached on education, abandoned his five children by his long-term mistress, and made pathetic excuses for doing so (he was too ill and poor to be a good father, and a foundlings’ home is not such a bad place to grow up, anyway)... at the end of his life, Rousseau acknowledged that it was not nearly so easy as he had assumed to follow the Delphic oracle’s injunction to “Know thyself.” He concluded ruefully that it was “arrogant and rash” to profess virtues that you cannot live up to, and retreated into indolent seclusion.
and of course Montaigne is a:
master of the suggestive non sequitur and the self-contradiction.

Jan 26, 2011

Manifestation against France Telecom...

Forgot to post about the manifestation we attended the other day at the top of the village against France Telecom's refusal to listen to the locals of our village, but more importantly the villagers of Pradelles-Cabardes, over dropped calls and lack of service.

For over a year angry letters have been flying their way to no avail, so the locals, local mayors and the powers that be decided to block the road.

You've got to love the one below that says, "Le Telephone ne Passe Pas Vous Non Plus," which basically means, get lost, or, the telephone doesn't work so the road doesn't either, the verb "passe" meaning pass like in English but also not working in French:

Of course, as soon as the Midi Libre article and the L'Independant one came out, France Telecom promised 70,000 Euros in repair work and immediate solutions... the power of the press, and the people!!!

Jan 25, 2011

Artist Daniel Brown

Congrats to Daniel, a great artist who was here at the end of last year, on building a really cool site for himself on his own.

If you haven't seen any of Daniel's art before then you've got to check out his site. Beautiful stuff.

This is a video of one of his pieces from 2007 called "Luminalia," a serpentine line of fire floating upon the Tiber river’s surface in Rome, illuminating the length of the river with one thousand flames throughout the night and into the morning hours:

2007 Luminalia: Tiber River Rome from Daniel K. Brown on Vimeo.

"The half-kilometer long serpent of fire celebrated the Tiber River, which is known also as the ‘blond serpent’. The serpent symbolizes Aesculapius, Roman god of medicine, whose mythological island home Isola Tiberina lies in the centre of the river site. One thousand candles lined each bank, while the serpent was formed from another thousand candles floated in the centre of the Tiber, taking life from the currents and carrying light into the darkness to prolong the longest day of the year."

Below is the cool drawing Daniel donated to La Muse before he left:

Jan 24, 2011

The Future of Books...

Just came across this great video of Richard Nash talking about the future of books at BookNet Canada's Technology Forum 2010 in a session entitled "Publishing 3.0: Moving from Gatekeeping to Partnerships."

Richard got married at La Muse years ago and since then has started up Cursor.

Jan 21, 2011

Jan 20, 2011

"The Melancholic Prophet"

There's a pretty good article about De Gaulle in the Literary Review here by Sudhir Hazareesingh.

The man with the 'Joan of Arc complex' is still keeping the biographers busy, especially since:
In June, President Sarkozy will pay a special visit to London to mark the seventieth anniversary of the General's BBC appeal of 18 June 1940, which launched the Gaullian rebellion. The commemorative flurry in France has already begun, and it includes a raft of new publications on de Gaulle - of which the most amusing (but also revealing) is Benoît Duteurtre's novel Le Retour du Général, in which de Gaulle rises from the dead to save France from the ravages of globalisation. 
Don't you love his hat? Classic.

Jan 18, 2011

House for Sale across the street...

We're selling our little house across the street for only 24,500 Euros. It needs everything done to it but has some lovely features and loads of potential...

We bought it a few years ago to renovate but we just don't have the time to work on it because La Muse is doing so well!

Here's a link to the listing on, a great site if any of you out there are ever looking to buy or sell a house. We've had our listing up there only 9 days and we've already had 10 people from 10 different countries contact us! The power of the Internet...

Jan 17, 2011

Art in the Air

It might be just for business class and the fancypants fliers but it's still cool to see that Air France are showing art from galleries on their flights. Cool idea and great to see art in the air!

This month, the gallery will be showing a video by Benoît Broisat, called “Bonneville” (2004), from the Museum of Modern Art in Paris.

You can see a clip of the video on his site here or read about it here.

Jan 12, 2011

PRISM's Short Fiction and Poetry Contest

We were just sent this info on the deadline for PRISM international's Short Fiction and Poetry Contests by a Muser.

The Short Fiction Contest deadline is January 29, 2011. A $2000 grand prize is awarded for the best original, unpublished story and the winner also receives publication payment in the Fiction and Poetry Contest Issue. Three runner-up prizes of $200 are also conferred. Works of translation are eligible. 

The Poetry Contest also has a deadline of January 29, 2011. A $1000 grand prize is awarded for the best original, unpublished poem and the winner also receives publication payment in the Fiction and Poetry Contest Issue. $300 and $200 are awarded to the runners-up. One entry may include up to three, single-spaced poems, and works of translation are eligible. 

Contest entries must be sent to PRISM through snail mail, accompanied by an entry form and cheque or receipt of credit card payment. For entry forms and the option to pay fees by credit card, visit Prism's contest page.

Entries can be sent to:

Prism International, [Contest Category]
Creative Writing Program
The University of British Columbia
BUCH E462-1866 Main Mall
Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z1