Archive for the 'The World Beyond Paris' Category

Refilling the Well + Return to France*

Any guesses where I am? It *is* a return to French territory.

Any guesses where I am? It *is* a return to French territory.

Right after my writing residency at the Kerouac House I went on a road trip. It only seemed fitting after spending a full season in Jack’s house.

From New Orleans to Baton Rouge, NYC to San Juan, I’ve had a lot of fun before finally returning to French territory…though it’s probably not where you think.

400 palm trees line L'Allée du Manoir

(Literally) on the road: 400 palm trees line L’Allée du Manoir

I bounce between periods of recording life in my notebook and of living it. Rather than worry as I used to when not putting pen to paper consistently (maybe I’ll never write again!) I instead embrace these periods as an important part of the process.

I just enjoyed 3 months of uninterrupted solo time to focus on my creative work. What I’ve done since is travel, experiencing new places, meeting old friends and making new ones. Planting the seeds for new stories. Refilling the well.

It’s a lot to encapsulate, but here are a few snapshots:

Continue reading ‘Refilling the Well + Return to France*’

Love Beams and a Reading

“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” -Guillaume Apollinaire

Stop! Small miracle alert. Love beam over the Seine.

Stop! Small miracle alert. Love beam over the Seine.

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!

I hope your life is full of love, on this and every day. I’ve spent the majority of V-days single rather than in a pair so I truly mean love in its widest sense, not simply the part about romance. Family, friends, the nice neighbor who baked you a pie, the stranger who gave you a smile – love is all around us!

I’d be lying if I didn’t confess to a special kind of happiness this time round, though. My beau has just arrived from Paris.

Continue reading ‘Love Beams and a Reading’

Culture Shock, Early Paris Days, and Crepes for Chandeleur

The day I arrived in Orlando to start my stint as the writer-in-residence at the Kerouac House, the project’s director drove me to the supermarket as soon as I dropped off my bags. Even if Central Florida felt a world away from France, I was glad one thing remained the same: food is a top priority! (That, and t.p. – not one roll left in the house!)

Pulling into the Publix parking lot, however, I realized, Toto, we’re not in Paris anymore.

Continue reading ‘Culture Shock, Early Paris Days, and Crepes for Chandeleur’

Summer Scenes: 2013 Edition

People don’t actually fall off the face of the earth.

For one thing, there’s gravity. For another, we’re always somewhere, doing something (until we’re not).

But you’re forgiven for wondering just where the heck I went. (Thanks for caring!)

Did I end up in some strange desert?

IMG_9205

Or get lost in the woods?

Montjuic graffiti

Am I in a land where art is larger than humans?

Fundació Joan Miró

Or houses look like they’re made of bone?

Casa Batlló

Well friends, I’m still in Barcelona – and all those photos above are from Barca, too. Which is just one more reason in a list of many that I can’t tire of this place. I’m constantly discovering something new.

This is not a love song

Well, actually this *is* a love song to the city

I’ve been here nearly 5 weeks now, and those photos were all taken in just the last few days. I’ve wandered through a cactus garden, past Miró’s constellations, across the mountain Montjuic, and inside (and around, and on top of) Gaudi’s amazing Casa Batlló all within the few days since the program where I taught ended.

And, oh the program!

I had incredible students this summer. I cannot even begin to tell you what a pleasure and a privilege it was to get to know them. Again I learned far more from them than they did me, but I’m pretty sure they had some fun along the way.

Creative Writing Minor Class 2013

My goofy expressions sometimes come in handy

Pedralbes Park with Major Class 2013

My incredible major class. 6 days a week and always interested, curious, and in good humor.

We visited ballrooms and Roman amphitheaters

Casa Castellarnau in Tarragona

Casa Castellarnau in Tarragona

Tarragona

Did Poetry Machine workshops and wrote about stunning photographs

The Poetry Machine

Sarah at Chema Madoz exhibit (I was thrilled to discover this photographer this summer - incredible work!)

Sarah at Chema Madoz exhibit (I was thrilled to discover this photographer this summer – incredible work!)

Both classes produced a literary journal and I couldn’t be more proud of them.

Literary journals, 2013

On the last day my major class surprised me with a gift. Delicious chocolate, and even more precious, a poem:

“Ode to Sion”

Eyes bright -
vivid and deep -
sparkling with youth and adventure

Smile wide and welcoming;
make her laugh and you’ll feel the warmth of summer

Kindness comes with her words,
poetry follows her pen:

delve into the depths of her notebook,
unfurl the web of ink
and lose yourself….

My amazing major class on the rooftop of La Pedrera

My amazing major class on the rooftop of La Pedrera

Yes, indeed. I cried. (Maya, Alexis, Sophia, Kiarra – THANK YOU! I will never forget you all!)

Now, I’m taking some time to rest and recuperate, though you can’t stop the brain from churning when inspired, either.

Sitges

Sitges

And I’ve found the perfect cafe, which I will now visit daily, Spice Cafe in Poble Sec.

Spice Cafe in Poble Sec

Spice Cafe in Poble Sec

In other news, I’ve made my first film appearance.

ScreenshotHeartOfBrunoWizardCameo

You may remember back in September I visited London to see a dear friend and be interviewed for a documentary about him. Well, The Heart of Bruno Wizard premiered at The East End Film Festival in July to a sold-out crowd. I couldn’t be at the premiere because it was the first day of classes, but it was quite the event! I hope the film will be picked up for distribution everywhere…and soon.

HeartOfBrunoWizardScreenshot2

And so that’s the quick summary. There’s more, of course – there always is! But for now, you know I have not fallen off the face of the earth. No, I am living rich, rewarding days – just off the screen.

How is your summer going? What’s the sunshine in your life?

Winter Solstice

The shortest day of the year, the one with least light.

And it’s true there is darkness.

Here’s a song called “Winter Solstice,” haunting and beautiful for the day.

The light starts growing again now.

What will you bring into the light?

Home for the Holidays

There are plenty of bistros…

Bistro NYC

And the Croque Monsieur is a popular choice…

Croque Monsieur, NYC

And that Arc looks kind of familiar

Washington Square

But of course this is my beloved New York, not Paris!

Continue reading ‘Home for the Holidays’

Paris vs New York (Short Video)

By now, many of you know the blog Paris vs New York that was then turned into a book of the same name. A visual comparison of two leading cities – what’s not to love?

While I seem to be welcoming more cities into my favorites category (Istanbul, Barcelona), we’ve still got the classics here. Enjoy the short comparison!

Also: New York has been on my mind so strongly as the city still struggles to get back on its feet after Hurricane Sandy. There’s an amazing fundraiser going on to help those affected if you’re interested. Humans of New York is a photographic census of New York, one street portrait at a time. The photos and accompanying stories have become a major highlight for me each day.

The photographer, Brandon, is doing a great job documenting the stories of Sandy’s wake and has teamed up with Tumblr to fundraise (he reached his goal of 100 K in less than 24 hours!) If you’re interested in participating, here’s the link to the fundraiser page.

All proceeds go directly to the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, a highly respected, family-run charity.

Otherwise, the website is worth a peek simply for the beauty. Each photograph captures the diversity and resiliency of both a vibrant city and the human spirit.

Long Weekend in London

Sion Dayson in London phone booth

Well, hello there

Paris is so well situated that jetting off is always tempting. You know how much I like getting away.

Somehow, though, I had never taken advantage of the easiest escape route ever: the Eurostar!

I’ve now rectified that oversight.

In less than two and a half hours I was whisked from the land of wine and cheese to the one of fish and chips.

Of course, London offers much more than that. Between my taste for offbeat adventures and an unconventional guide, I had quite a random visit. Here are a few highlights:

I stumbled into London Fashion Week!

Kokon To Zai fashion show - London Fashion Week 2012

Kokon To Zai fashion show

London Fashion Week

Somerset House

Browsed in Europe’s largest bookstore! (Foyles)

Foyle's Bookshop in London

Continue reading ‘Long Weekend in London’

Speaking Franspagnole and Festa Major de Gracia

Carrer Joan Blanques, Barcelona, Festa Major de Gracia 2012

Carrer Joan Blanques, Barcelona, Festa Major de Gracia 2012

So I’m speaking Franspagnole.

That’s a mix of French and Spanish.

My brain can’t handle this transitional period. I actually forgot the verb “to be” in French. To be, y’all!

Festa Major de Gracia, Barcelona

Who am I?

This may be an eternal question, but in this case, I just wanted to remember how to say it. No answer required. The verbs ser and estar kept getting in the way and usurped je suis for nearly 3 days!

Other examples:

When trying to make an appointment for Wednesday, I could not conjure the word mercredi. (Miercoles, miercoles!)

The check came for a couple drinks and I gave the server a billet of diez, not dix.

I went to Castorama to pick up a new bookshelf (more room for books!) and didn’t even realize half my sentence was in Spanish and the other in French. (Hay une etagere en blanc?) I wondered why everyone was giving me strange smiles.

Last night I finally managed to string a few whole sentences together (and was told I sounded Brazilian!).

So, I think I’m getting back on the right track.

Before my Barcelona bliss and buzz fades completely, however, I wanted to document the week-long party that happened right before I left. (It was all for me, right, Barca? I love you, too!)

Dancing at the Festa Major de Gracia, Barcelona

I’m very excited to have a new post over on the hip web magazine, Untapped Cities, about the Festa Major de Gracia. It’s pronounced differently in Catalan, but it is a major good time.

Hop on over to read the post…plus see a TON of photos.

Fiesta, fiesta! (I mean, fete, fete!)

Why I’m Still in Spain (Photo Edition)

Beach at Calella, Spain

Calella

“When are you back?” my roommate texted, aptly noting that my teaching duties had come to an end, and yet I wasn’t exactly clamoring to return to Paris.

I wrote back to explain that I wasn’t really sure when I’d be back. I was having a great time. And I was offered a free place to stay the whole month of August if I wanted.

“OMG!” My phone lit up again a few minutes later. “You met somebody!”

Continue reading ‘Why I’m Still in Spain (Photo Edition)’


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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