The Camargue and Betty Blue – A Vignette
I love the french film Betty Blue. The film opens on a long sandy beach with wooden beach huts. The main character lives in one of the huts and is caretaker of the others. When he lets Betty come and live with him his boss insists he must paint the exterior of all the huts in return for her staying.
When I visited the Camargue I came across a beach with similar wooden huts. It was very atmospheric and caused me to write this vignette. I intend to use this writing in some form in my novel Watercress when Sorrel travels through France on her way back to Nice. I love the idea of deserted beaches and space to breathe, rolling waves and long stretches of sand. I am itching to get back to Watercress and whole days writing. Of being lost in another world.
It was a long beach with wooden huts along it; most of them were stoved in and derelict. Out of season it was unbearably quiet but they liked it that way. It meant they got their choice of huts, one that was settled amongst the sand dunes, sheltered, yet still close to the sea. One not so battered and bruised as the others: a table still in tact and a couple of wicker chairs, one huge window with shutters, even an old stove that still worked.
She took to visiting the other shacks and bringing back useful objects like a squirrel stocking up for winter or a magpie swooping in and flying low picking up shiny trinkets, bits of tile and glittering pieces of green glass.
He wrote all day at the table. He’d already written three novels all unpublished and numerous short stories. All masterpieces. He was misunderstood – of course – and she was finding her way. It was a slow process.
Writing is a slow process. You need patience and tenacity. You need to finish things. I have learnt that it is only by finishing a writing project that you begin to understand its form. At the moment I am writing a radio play and a novel and, no matter how long it takes, I will finish both of them.