Archive for the 'Writing' Category

Happy New Year! Blogiversary! Love Your Life!

Which direction are you headed this year?

Which direction are you headed this year?

Hello friends,

Happy new year! Has 2014 started off well? Have you made resolutions? Broken any already? Or are you just playing life as it comes?

I’m celebrating, too, another special occasion. Four years ago today I started this blog and signed in as paris (im)perfect for the first time. Thank you for coming along for the ride!

Speaking of which, as someone always seeking Paris quirk, it seems only fitting that my blogiversay and the “No Pants Subway Ride” take place around the same time.

Continue reading ‘Happy New Year! Blogiversary! Love Your Life!’

Three Year Blogiversary!

Today is my blogiversary and I’ve just returned to Paris!

View from friend's apartment

View from a friend’s apartment

Merci in the 11eme.

Merci in the 11eme.

Three years already. Happy birthday, baby. You keep growing so fast.

At 59 Rivoli

At 59 Rivoli

New cafe in my 'hood

New cafe in my ‘hood

Thank you, lovely readers, for coming along for the strange and beautiful ride.

I pass this street art all the time.

Rue de la Roquette; I pass this all the time.

Inside the new cultural center, Elephant Paname

Inside the new cultural center, Elephant Paname

Exciting futures ahead.

How is your new year going?

Expat Blog Awards and Amazing Synchronicity!

Happy 12.12.12!

As many have noted, this is the last repetitive date we’ll see in our lifetimes (unless you can hang on another 88 years to 01/01/2101).

I’m a bit of a number nerd. Not so much into math, but a person who keeps strange little superstitions, making wishes at 11:11 and imbuing certain combinations with meaning. Hey, you never know!

Sometimes life does offer amazing moments of synchronicity, though.

After posting my James Baldwin essay yesterday, my fabulous roommate revealed that her uncle was close friends with the author. “Jimmy” was her cousin’s godfather!

James Baldwin and Robert Cordier

James Baldwin and Robert Cordier (photo from Wikimedia Commons, posted by Acting123)

WHAT? I’ve been living with someone with a connection to my literary hero?!

“Yeah, we should all get coffee sometime,” she said casually.

“This is amazing!” I said.

She shrugged. “I wasn’t even going to mention it, but you keep talking about him.”

Sure enough, her uncle’s name sounded familiar. I went to my Baldwin biography and found several mentions of Robert Cordier. Then I googled him (of course) and found more: playwright, director, famed acting teacher, etc, etc. Whoa!

Mind officially blown.

ExpatsBlogAwardsIn other fun news, I’ve been nominated for an Expat Blog Award!

The contest has been going on for awhile, but I was too shy to mention it before. But along with my slight number fixation and surprise connections, I must also have a competitive underdog streak somewhere in there, too.

If you want to help create a last minute surge in the rankings, nice comments here by Friday count as votes for my blog. Hop on over if you’d like. Merci!

Stories of synchronicity to share?

James Baldwin in Paris (New Essay Published!)

JamesBaldwinEssayScreenshotHi friends,

This is an especially gratifying one for me.

I’m thrilled to have an essay about one of my literary heroes over on Hunger Mountain.

“Another Country: James Baldwin at ‘Home’ (and) Abroad” explores how the author of such seminal American works as Notes of a Native Son and Go Tell It On the Mountain was influenced by his many years living abroad, first in Paris, and later in Istanbul. Revisiting his rich oeuvre was an amazing way to delve into questions of home, identity, and expatriation.

I’m also particularly excited because my essay sparked the journal to assemble a whole tribute to the author!

This year marks the 25th anniversary of Baldwin’s passing. I highlighted this fact in submitting the essay to explain why it was a great time to examine his legacy. I am so glad they agreed. Not only did they accept my essay, but they then went on to solicit other essays from several noted writers. I’m humbled and proud (is it possible to be both at once?) that my enthusiasm for Baldwin contributed to this tribute. Baldwin had a great impact on me and I’m delighted to shine a light on him and his work, still so moving and relevant today.

Here’s the link. Enjoy!

Teaching Writing at WICE!

WICE classDecember! How is it the last month of the year already?

While I’m pondering just what the heck happened to 2012, exciting things are already brewing for the new year.

I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be teaching a fun 4-week class at WICE starting in mid-January.

“Getting Unstuck: Conquering Fear of the Blank Page” will offer tips and techniques to encourage writing. Fear of the blank page is normal – but it can be overcome! Emphasis will be on generating new material and is appropriate for all genres as we’ll be using a variety of prompts and exercises for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

Basically, I want to put the play back into writing. Workshops and critique groups have their place, but this isn’t that. I’m interested in exploring – and pushing past – the resistance we sometimes feel in even sitting down to write. How do I start? Or…I’m stuck. What can I do? We’ll try to answer those questions!

You know how classes are usually more interesting when the subject obviously touches the instructor, too? Well, I can tell you I proposed this class because it’s a topic very much alive for me. I’m fascinated by the feeling of wanting to write, but then finding every which way not to do it! I hope to create a space where participants can reconnect with the joy of creativity and get their pens flowing again. Perfect for that new year’s writing resolution!

4 Mondays (January 21, 28; February 4, 11) from 2 PM-4 PM. All the details and registration information over on the WICE website.

Come join me in the adventure!

Guest Post on Hunger Mountain

Phew!

I am so relieved we’re not embroiled in some dramatic recount right now; it was one of my fears about the US presidential election.

But nope, the numbers were clear and told a good (in my opinion) story.

That being said, it’s not always healthy to track numbers obsessively. I learned that this past year as I was sending query letters to literary agents. I put on a brave face, but the process did get me down.

But I’m back up!

I have a guest post over on “Another Loose Sally,” the blog of the journal Hunger Mountain. In “Nixing the Numbers” I talk about losing then regaining sight of what’s really important in the world of writing. (Hint: it involves actually writing!)

If you’re interested in taking a peek, head on over here.

Enjoy!

A Quiet Birthday

Pere Lachaise

Pere Lachaise on a sunny day

The sound of rain woke me before the light had come, but the day gave way to sunshine by afternoon. I stayed in bed late, then read, then rose. It was a tranquil beginning to my quietest birthday yet.

I usually plan a celebration of some sort – I love my birthday! – but this year I didn’t feel that’s what I wanted for some reason. It might have had something to do with the storm – seeing the damage it wrought across much of the Eastern seaboard, but most personally, of course to my beloved New York.

Maybe it had to do with my anxiety over the impending election, too. (Please vote!)

But today there was no sadness. I was happy to face the day on my own terms.

After my languid start, I went to the library to work for a few hours, as has become my habit. Some would say, rest! Don’t work on your birthday! But slowly getting back into a committed writing routine is the gift I’m giving myself.

Continue reading ‘A Quiet Birthday’

The Next Big Thing

One of my overflowing bookcases.

A fun Q&A has been circulating around writers’ blogs of late. Each person answers questions about their work-in-progress then tags other writers to do the same. I was honored that Ann Mah, author of Kitchen Chinese and the forthcoming food memoir Mastering the Art of French Eating, thought to tag me in “The Next Big Thing.”

While I rarely do these sorts of chains or talk about works-in-progress (makes me so nervous!), I thought I’d take the plunge and tell you a bit about my novel. Plus, I love sharing the love; I’m excited to introduce you to some writer friends.

What is your working title of your book?

WHEN THINGS WERE GREEN

Where did the idea come from for the book?

When starting any piece of writing, it’s usually an image or a small detail that arrives first for me, not an overarching idea.

I was walking through Harlem one day and overheard some teenage girls gossiping. One said: “she’s pregnant and never even had sex.” Well, wow, how does that happen?!

I wondered about those girls and their beliefs and knowledge of the world. I went home and immediately wrote a scene, though what came out featured a young girl in a small town in Georgia in an era before I was born.

Continue reading ‘The Next Big Thing’

The France Project: Inspiration!

Hi friends,

If you’ve ever wondered what I sound like, here’s your chance to find out!

I’m thrilled to be featured in the fourth episode of The France Project, a podcast “exploring the je ne sais quoi about life in France.”

For six years, Katia Grimmer-Laversanne co-hosted a humorous Internet radio show about expat life. When her co-host moved onto other adventures, Katia took a brief hiatus – then realized she missed talking to people and that there was much more she wanted to explore.

And so, The France Project was born. Each episode tackles a different aspect of life in France. This episode’s theme? Inspiration!

Katia is absolutely delightful and we instantly clicked when we met over coffee. (The fact that we both have full-bodied laughs – which people often comment on – was certainly a bonus.)

When she then invited me to her home studio for an interview, I was honored – if a little nervous. It sometimes surprises people to learn I suffered from an almost debilitating shyness when I was younger. So much so that I would even have to write a “script” before making a phone call!

Well, I’ve come a long way, baby. But now I worry I ramble to keep from clamming up. Interesting to see what comes out when a microphone is placed before you. Eep!

My interview starts at minute 47, but feel free to listen to the whole episode. The biweekly show is great when you need a France fix!

P.S. I was on the tail-end of a cold when we recorded, but that’s basically my voice. Does anyone else shudder when they hear their own voice? That’s what I sound like? : )

Thanks to Katia and her adorable Burmese cat Symphony who sat on my lap during the entire interview. Recording the podcast was a lovely experience all-around!

Listen and enjoy here!

Anything but Oatmeal (New Essay Published!)

I’m delighted to have an essay in the debut issue of Lunch Ticket, the new literary journal of the Antioch University Los Angeles MFA program.

It’s actually an essay I wrote several years ago (how strange, like an artifact, to return to work from so long ago!) I sat on it for years. The essay centers on the relationship I have with my father – or one moment of that relationship.

Joan Didion once said, “writers are always selling somebody out.”

That’s a hard concept to wrestle with – or to admit. Is it true?

When I write fiction, I don’t have to worry too much about other people’s feelings; I imagine new characters. With nonfiction, I have tended to talk mainly about myself – tell my story, so as not to involve those who may not want to appear on the page.

The problem, of course, is that my story is very much tied up with other people. Our connections matter. To me, relationships are what make life.

So how do I tell my story without ever talking about the people who help shape it?

Continue reading ‘Anything but Oatmeal (New Essay Published!)’


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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