I have decided to undertake my author biography as a way to dig deeper into who I am. I was always told that my first name, Erin, means peace. Born at the end of 1985—labeled “the Year of the Spy” due to a large number of foreign spies arrested in the US as the Cold War continued—, I came into this world as a simple speck of love and serenity.
And at the same time, I was one in 3,077 per million babies to be given the name Erin in the 1980s. We’re looking at more than a speck here.
More specifically, I was born on December 3, 1985, in the state of Delaware in the United States. As a Sagittarius—and I confirm just how perfectly this sign describes who I am—, I am very childish, honorable, clear-headed, kind and prompt with little luck in the department of love and money. Sadly, I have so much love to give and would very much like to find one man who fits me entirely and who wants to love me in return. Truly, my desire to give to those I love and to enjoy myself in the present moment pushes me to spend instead of saving. I was two and a half, standing at the candy-filled shop counter with a handful of coins stretched out flat in my palm, and I’m not sure how but I knew I didn’t have enough coins for the candy of my choice. “Uh oh, I have an economic problem,” I said, looking up at my parents with big frightened blue eyes, my blonde hair pulled back into pigtails.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” – Charles Dickens
Stories. My father has, throughout the years, told many childhood anecdotes that we’ve always enjoyed, so I recently began writing his memoirs in the form of a fictional narrative; it’s called Little Ricky.
All children love books. I have cared for many in the past and see the same tendencies in my young nephews—the true reason for Little Ricky. I was no exception. Books became the remedy for my soul, the library my apothecary. I began writing so young—silly tales about my dog Missy, another one about the knights of the round table and so on. My imagination spilled carelessly into my daily life.
“What really knocks me out is a book that, when you’re all done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.” – J.D. Salinger
I can still picture myself in the backseat of my mother’s van as she drives with my grandmother in the passenger’s seat: I’m holding a sharpened, standard #2 lead pencil an arms’ length in front of me, as if directly in between my two eyes; the background image of the van transforms into an endless valley topped with an abundance of flowers of multiple colors. Each millisecond brings the growing sound of buzzing inches closer and I thrust my head to the side to escape an oncoming bee. Seeing me in the rearview mirror, my mother asks what’s going on. Nothing, I reply.
I love bees and I love nature. Swimming in the Lac de Sainte Croix in Verdon, kayaking on the Mediterranean sea, sniffing fields of lavender; after four months of studying in the south of France at 21 years old, moving to coastal Marseille in 2008 comes to me as no surprise. How to describe this city I’ve begun to call home?
Rocky. Tucked away, like a baby in a swaddling blanket. Sort of private and personal, yet welcoming. Artsy and free, while completely government-controlled like any other city. The door to endless possibilities, yet all self-motivated—jobs are not abundant here, but we can grow individually. I have grown here. This is the city in which I paid rent for the first time, drove a scooter and then a motorcycle for the first time, earned a bachelor’s degree and learned the ways of the world, both good and bad.
“It is for God to punish wicked people; we should learn to forgive.” – Emily Bronte
The Calanques remain my hideaway; long, winding and often difficult paths lead to rocky inlets from where we can see boats anchored on sunny days and swimmers jumping from the rock into the clear blue Mediterranean sea. Yes, this is home and has been for over eleven years as of 2019.
It is in this city, a quick five-minute ride from my apartment, where I nearly died in a motorcycle accident. The dark sky opened up to me. It did not frighten me; it listened to me as I spoke my will. The true scene with accurate details became the captive of my brain which morphed it into a fake ensemble of pictures like a pieced-together puzzle of several past memories. Every day since August 9, 2013, the morning begins with birds singing outside my window; I inhale deeply, look at the sky and say, “thank you.”
“I don’t want to be at the mercy of my emotions. I want to use them, to enjoy them, and to dominate them.” – Oscar Wilde
I had begun my first novel that year, before the accident, and published it in May 2014 under the pen name Erin Lynne.
Then I realized who I needed to thank for having succeeded in writing the book: French author Paule Constant, one of our professors at the university in Aix-en-Provence. She’d had us attend master classes by several well-known French authors and write a report. I learned so much, listening to them talk about their creative habits. Little did I know how far a simple thank you could take me: Paule Constant invited me to be her special guest speaker for Les Journées des Ecrivains du Sud at the end of May—my book had only been available for purchase a few days prior to the event. That weekend I dined with some of the most renown French authors, both young, such as Arthur Dreyfus and Alexandre Postel, and established, such as Gilles Lapouge and historian Pascal Ory, all invited to speak on the creation of their latest work. The dream. Paule guided me around her beautiful home across the street from the Hotel Cardinal, where a room would welcome me after dinner, introducing me to several authors and journalist Mohammed Aïssaoui who would moderate the talks all weekend.
That evening, as Philippe-Jean Catinchi literally turned his back to me mid-discussion, I learned that self-published works were not yet accepted in the literary world here in France. Understandably so, when we know how hard traditional authors have fought to have one of their written works approved for publication. I didn’t take it personally, or badly, to be snubbed in the middle of the party by just this one man.
“An artist is someone who can hold two opposing viewpoints and still remain fully functional.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
I did learn my lesson: I no longer mentioned that I had self-published my book. It also reminded me about tradition; how odd I had never thought about sending my book to a publishing house.
“Fools talk, cowards are silent, wise men listen.” – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A few years later and I am on the path of toe stepping my way into the traditional world of literature, with the above-mentioned event as a turning point. The morning of my fifteen-minute speech, Pascal Ory spoke to me and said I looked nervous; he was right. While on stage, I caught him, in the front row near Paule Constant, winking at me as a reminder of what he’d said, “You got this”, in so many French words. The most powerful, sincere and heartfelt fifteen minutes of my life, for every minute the public remained silent listening to me speak. One author whispered during my speech, loudly enough, to Paule saying I was ready for a master class, and once I’d finished, two authors, including Pascal, ran over to me so happy to congratulate me with kind taps on the shoulder, big smiles, telling me how great I was. There was a dinner at Paule’s that evening for all of the authors, but I was too emotional to attend. I missed seeing them but couldn’t risk ruining the amazing feeling.
When you reach a peak, there’s nowhere else to go but down. I hold onto the fact, though, that there are many peaks and once down we can go back up. But not that night. I wanted to stay on the peak for a little while longer, to hide away and feel as high as could be with no one around to challenge it.
“There is accumulation. There is responsibility. And beyond this there is great unrest.” – Julian Barnes
STORIES & INFO ABOUT ME
French humorist and author Laurent Boghossian interviewed me and wrote “The Legend of a Lady Samurai Artist: Erin Lynne.”
I was invited to speak about my novel, Imperfections, at Les Journees des Ecrivains du Sud on 17 May 2014 in Aix-en-Provence.
Here is a review of Imperfections. The book was released in French in 2016.
I participated in a short film entitled La Ronde by director Vincent Ducarne.
If you’re interested in my journalistic publications, you can jump to my blog, Erin Tallman in Journalism.
I created an association based in Marseille: The Kinder World. We launched a language competition in order to sponsor a language trip for a student of difficult means. Here’s information on the English competition and the student who won.
As an avid field hockey and indoor hockey player since 1999—Rising Sun high school, Wilson College, AUC University, Salon de Provence and Marseille’s Women’s team—, here is a blurb about my playing in France.