Paul Shore is a technology industry veteran, who has worked around the globe. At one stage Shore ended up in a charming village in Provence, France, where he tried to understand French culture and integrate with the French community. This resulted in a story worth telling, which he does with a lot of heart and humor. As our Author of the Day, Shore talks about what he learned from the French reveals why he decided to write this book and whether he would ever like to live in Provence again.
Please give us a short introduction to what Uncorked is about.
Uncorked celebrates the “uncorking” of a few tightly held traditions that are near and dear to hearts of the locals of the Cote d’Azur and Provence – being taught to play pétanque (boules) under the clandestine cover of darkness; learning vernissage etiquette; drinking pastis before noon; navigating narrow village roads at top driving speed. It also “uncorks” personal awakenings about the value of following roads-less-travelled and making time to smell-the-roses, as we cultivate friendships and traditions.
What inspired you to write this travelogue/memoir now?
Friends have told me for years that my stories from my time living in Provence would make an entertaining and inspiring book... and I finally decided to write over the past few years, while my grey-matter still had clear recollection of that time in my life ;)
How did you end up in Provence, France?
I was assigned to work there by the high tech startup I was working for. We were partnered with Texas Instruments, whose European headquarters was in Nice, France.
How much of a culture shock did you experience initially?
Grande! Very big. The pace of life was much slower, better balanced, healthier.
What, do you think, could the rest of the world learn from the French?
To balance work and life better… and to slow down, appreciate, and carry forward culture.
Why does the sport of pétanque play such a prominent role in this book?
It was my one breakthrough into French culture, and it turned out to be such a wonderful metaphor for some many aspects of life.
When did you start to feel like part of the community for the first time?
When an older man said to a crowd of onlookers watching me play, “he really understands the game” (in French of course). And later when they offered me membership into their private club of players “Le Cercle”, which few (if any) foreigners ever get to set foot in.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I am an engineer and a high tech business development veteran. I am a husband and father of two young wonderful kids. I am an active outdoorsman and weekend warrior athlete in many sports. And I do some artistic woodworking… this is really the only other “secret” skill I suppose ;)
Your book contains a lot of self-depreciating humor. Why did you write it this way?
I try not to take life too seriously… I find the humor buried in many situations and love to point it out with wit… even about my own behaviour.
If you had a choice, would you want to move back to Provence?
In a heartbeat! In fact someday I hope our family will return to spend at least a year there when the kids are a little older. If you know of any tech companies there doing work in innovative renewable energy who need a part-time business development specialist, have them call me ;)
Where do you like to write?
I write at home in the coast mountains of Canada, or by the Pacific ocean (here… www.shoresatlund.com).
What was the most valuable life lesson that you learned in France?
Value your roots, and cherish and foster traditions near and dear to your heart.
Your book also includes a lot of photos – why?
I was told my writing is evocative, so I figure I should add a few photos to compliment my style and further paint a clear picture to my readers.
What are you working on right now?
Promoting this book, assisting my wife to raise our family, and searching for new opportunities in the world of renewable energy.