MFA, USA

long lonely road ahead

Countdown: less than 48 hours left in Paris before heading to the States for a month! The itinerary: Washington, DC, New York City, Montpelier, Vermont.

I’m going for the usual reason – wonderful, revitalizing, and truly necessary friend and family time.

There’s another reason for my trip, however. I’m returning to Vermont College’s low-residency writing program to continue a Master of Fine Arts degree in Fiction. I completed the first year of the MFA program a few years back. Then life sort of happened. You know, the whole living in another country and having my world turned upside down thing.

I’m not actually sure I’m ready to jump back in, but a fortuitous set of circumstances (read, some funding) made it possible for me to give it another go. I haven’t written much fiction the past few years and I’m also heading into a critical thesis semester in addition to the creative work I need to churn out, so it’s no exaggeration to say I’m nervous. But it’s also exciting and some focus (and adrenaline) is probably just what I need.

For those unfamiliar with the low-residency writing model, twice a year I go to an intense 10-day writing residency for workshops, lectures, readings, and all-around writing extravaganza where I’ll also talk with distinguished faculty and choose one as my semester advisor. For the next 6 months after the residency I will write from Paris and continue to get critical feedback and critique from my advisor. Pretty cool.

I’m not sure what this means for the blog yet; I’ll probably have to cut down on the frequency of my posting, but I sure as heck don’t want to give it up. Blogging has deepened my appreciation of Paris and my expat life more than anything else.

Bear with me if the new rhythm is a bit wonky at first. Thanks for taking the ride so far and I hope to have much more to share in the future!

A bientot!

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16 Responses to “MFA, USA”


  1. 1 Kheminder Chadda, Mr. June 15, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    Hi Sion,
    I happened to read yr ‘The Language of Love’ in WSJ and was so
    thrilled, then I discovered yr Blog site with so much more to
    read about yr impressions of Paris.
    It was nostalgic for me as I was there during my student days
    and walked most of the streets of Paris..
    There was no internet then in 70s-80s.
    Your writings are so charming and natural, it seems you are
    right there making a conversation, every word coming alive.

    If you are coming to US then when are u going to be in Washington DC? and for how long? (You have fans now!!)
    I hope on the marriage front, everything will work out fine,
    not to worry abt a wrinkle here or there
    You had the courage, infact one of the most courageous romantics,
    and its so uplifting to read abt it in real life.
    Thanks and if you could plz answer- when are u going to be in Washington DC?
    Rgds,
    Kim

    • 2 paris (im)perfect June 15, 2010 at 11:49 pm

      Hi Kim. Thanks so much for your kind words. I’m glad I could bring back good memories of your time in Paris. I like my writing to read like a conversation, so I’m happy that’s how you read it!

      DC is my first stop this weekend – only 4 days unfortunately! It will be packed hanging with family. One of the only downsides of being an expat is being so far from loved ones and not getting to see them very often.

      Thanks for finding my blog – come back and visit again!

    • 3 Kheminder Chadda, Mr. June 16, 2010 at 7:49 pm

      Hi Sion,
      Si tu es deja arrivee’ a DC, sois bienvenu ici.
      (pardons mon francais caisse!)
      Hope you enjoy yr trip to DC and on to Vermont,
      having the best of both worlds across Atlantic.
      You can be like a literary bridge between 2 styles
      and cultures, as we’ve had artists in the past
      come over to NY from Europe like DeKoonig, Marcel D
      and other and some from here going over there-
      Man Ray, Gertrude Stein etc..
      but u were kind of unique, for the reasons you stayed on
      were far more challenging at personal level and inspiring
      to all risk-takers- ‘Hey Follow yr heart’
      I had so liked those ending words of your WSJ blog- Moi Aussi.
      Did you have tears of joy at that moment when you said that to him?
      When do you plan to return to Paris?
      Onzieme ou bien dixneuvieme Arrondissement tu habites?
      J’ai ma soeur la, qui habite dans le treizieme, Pl.D’Italie
      ou je vais parfois visiter Paris.
      Bon Courage et bonne chance a toi toujours,
      Kim

  2. 4 Res June 15, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    You rock. (and not just because of the WSJ article, although well done you!)
    Enjoy the course and hopefully we’ll be able to meet up for a drink / Hitchcock when you come back!

  3. 5 Tanya in Transition June 15, 2010 at 8:17 pm

    Go, go, GO!!! (That’s what I say to D to cheer him on.) Enrich yourself. Learn. Be. Enjoy. As Res says above, you rock!

  4. 6 paris (im)perfect June 15, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    Thanks y’all. See, this is why I love blogging. I have my own cheerleading squad! It’s awesome! :)

  5. 7 Linda June 15, 2010 at 11:56 pm

    Best of luck with the MFA!

  6. 8 Tina June 16, 2010 at 2:03 am

    Congratulations, Sion! You’ll do beautifully. Really looking forward to hearing your impressions and comparing notes with you. Good luck! (And if you ever need anyone besides your mentor and workshopees to read your pages, just holler!)

  7. 9 Paris Karin (an alien parisienne) June 16, 2010 at 10:05 am

    I hope you have a wonderful time. The whole 10-day intensive writing thing sounds like a DREAM. Ahhhh, I would give a left pinky toe to do some further education like that. I’ve missed academia.

    Be safe, we’ll see you here when we see you here, best as you work and visit, and I know I’ll be waiting to hear how things are going when you get a chance. I’d love to read some stuff about any reverse-culture shock you have and what the Vermont College writing experience is like!

    Take care & good luck packing ;-)–
    Karin

  8. 10 Delana June 16, 2010 at 11:23 am

    How exciting Sion. All of it. As an expat, going home is a little weird. You leave as a resident, you return as a visitor. And it’s a whirlwind. But so much fun. Enjoy…and kick some MFA ass!

    • 11 paris (im)perfect June 17, 2010 at 12:26 am

      So true! The last time I went back to New York I remember feeling like such an outsider. It was so strange to return to the place that had felt so much like “home” and feel like only a visitor. It was kind of sad. But on the flip side, it made me realize that means I’ve made Paris home. Now I’m just going to relax and have a blast when I go back.

      Thanks, everyone, for the encouragement! If you don’t see me posting, it’s because I’m soaking up every last minute of time with lovely folks I don’t get to see very often. This trip should be restorative.

  9. 12 Buffy June 17, 2010 at 1:55 am

    Good luck with your class….sounds exciting!! I will be in Europe for the first time, stopping in your adopted city for a couple nights.

    Have a great summer!

    Buffy

  10. 13 Alison June 17, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Have a wonderful trip! Best of luck with your studies too. We’ll all be here waiting when you have time to update us :)

  11. 15 Carolyn July 4, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    A belated congratulations and well done on the WSJ article!

    I too will look forward to reading more about the writing program once you’re back.

    Hope you’re enjoying the ‘vacation’ — we just returned to Sydney after a whirlwind of U.S. visits and I know they can be exhausting and euphoric at the same time.

    Cheers and take care.

  12. 16 Lauren September 24, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Hi Sion,

    I came across your profile on an Expat website, which then led me to your blog, which I’m now hooked on, and voila. I then read your WSJ piece and loved every word of it! I have a feeling I’ll be neglecting French homework this week to catch up on your previous blog posts! C’est la vie.

    Like yourself, I’m an American living in France, am pursuing a relationship with a French man, and trying to “make it” through the daily struggles of live in another country. I actually have some questions about writing and so if you have the time, I would be so appreciative to email you about them.

    Anyway, I hope to hear from you soon! Best wishes!!

    Lauren


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paris (im)perfect?

Sion Dayson is paris (im)perfect. Writer, dreamer, I moved to France on – no exaggerating – a romantic whim. As you can imagine, a lot can go wrong (and very right!) with such a (non)plan. These are the (im)perfect stories that result.

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