Friends, Food & Fun — Longtime friends Helen & Charles in Paris to celebrate their 34th anniversary (I introduced them) — Lunch with new friend, Stanford anthropologist, Duana, at vegetarian restaurant (delicious food) — Girlfriend Joan Minor performed at her studio in a unique building converted from a factory into a haven for artists — Out & about with girlfriend Pat, her nephew and his buddies visiting from New York — And, bien sur, street scenes I can’t get at home.
I’m still writing (really I am) in between —visits to Fontainebleau & Barbizon with homies Mary and the lovely Nora — escargot with buddy Sebastian in Montmartre — introducing friends to friends over good food (finally a tender steak in Paris) — celebrating the 70th birthday of childhood friend Llynn Luke (who’s still partying like it’s 1969) — attending a Mendelssohn & Bruckner performance by the National Orchestra of France with friends in a stunningly beautiful concert hall (we shook hands with the conductor — of the NOF— at a bar —after the concert) — and to top off a 2nd & 3rd week of adventures that keep me smiling — a Chocolate Festival with over 100 vendors including a chocolate fashion exhibit (it took half an hour to find an exit and almost got scary in a Willy Wonka kind of way.)
Paris – Fall 2019 – I’ve returned to days of wine and roses, cobblestone streets, mashing with the masses on the Metro and the 67 steps up to my favorite apartment in Le Marais. I’ve bonded with a new set of writing friends who have roots in Australia, India, Qatar, Ireland, Iceland, England, Germany, New York and California. We gathered for a soirée at an illustrious bookstore and enjoyed literary talks in the Paris homes of successful, prolific writers John Baxter and Mary Duncan, who had stories to tell and wisdom to dispense. Daily surprises continue. On my way home from Woody Allen’s latest movie (at a cozy 30-seat cinema), tents and a fire-breather magically appeared where none existed 2 hours before. And walking to my favorite Sunday market, I was serenaded by an invisible harpist who filled the air with angelic melodies for street after street until I turned a corner and there he was.
A Few Things I’ll Miss (until we meet again)… Old & New Paris Friends — The Seine — Walking — Sounds of Cascading Fountains (big & small) — Street Scenes — Classic Cinema — Horns & Sirens — Night Lights — Diversity— Hidden Wonders — The Cornucopia of Creativity — Everywhere, reminders that no matter how crazy the world might seem, the earth still spins on its axis and life goes on!
Paris Spring 2019…
Week 3—Flâneuring through the streets and covered passageways of Paris is a welcome break from writing. It’s still not high season for tourists, so sometimes you get places all to yourself. I try to catch twilight near the Seine as often as possible — it can be dazzling even on a dreary day. Peonies are still blooming. Got to spend special Paris time with best buds Amy (for a week), Cronan for a couple of days and Suzanne (for a few precious hours). And I know it looks like I walk around the city grinning, but that just happens when no locals are around to wiggle a finger of disapproval at such public displays of joy. Finally, speaking of joy — I wrote the last line of my first novel! Lots of editing to come. After that…who knows?
Back where I belong in Le Marais. I’m getting my daily essentials — bread, butter, flowers, friends, walking, Paris-energy. The grand dame’s (Notre Dame) reconstructive surgery is in progress. I returned to my Sunday writers group and got a collective “She’s Back” that warmed my soul. After our literary stimulation, we repair to a classic pub for libations. During the week, I’m writing in a grand bibliothéque (library) in the Hotel de Ville. The internet is bad there so very few distractions from the task at hand. I’ve seen 5 movies and met the director of one. I’m recognized at my gym. It’s the season for peonies, my favorite flower, and I am here long enough to get a different color bouquet every week at my favorite neighborhood street market (Richard Lenoir on Thursdays) which is where I also get my weekly rations of salmon, veggies, cheese, olives and these great little caramel pastries from Breton. The guy who sells sea salt is a comedian. Life is good.
Best-buds Cronan and Sebastian were there for my 3rd SpokenWord reading. Girlfriend and jazz singer extraordinaire, Joan Minor (Google her if you’re into jazz) and her husband Paul, hosted a lovely dinner party. Then, after agreeing that cathedrals get old if you’ve seen too many, Cronan and I took the train to Chartres. We lucked up (big time) because 85 year old world renowned Chartres Cathedral historian Malcolm Miller was giving a tour. I learned more in 2 hours through his interpretation of biblical stories portrayed in stained-glass windows dating back more than 1000 years, than I have in a lifetime of going to church. And to top off the week, I got into the Sorbonne on one of only 2 days every year it is open to the public. It was phenomenal! One of my most valued privileges has been a good education, and this is where the most privileged have been educated for centuries. Even knowing I wouldn’t have been allowed in until recently, being in such a beautiful place of learning brought tears to my eyes.