Posts Tagged 'books'

The Pillow Project

David Barnes of Spoken Word Paris reading while a member of the Pillow Project riffs

Hello friends,

Here’s your helping of a random (art) happening around town.

This past Tuesday The Pillow Project paid a visit to Shakespeare & Co. The Pittsburgh-based troupe plays “freejazz,” an improvisational form they describe as “using the body as the instrument playing visual notes.”

The experimental group is starting to forge deeper ties to Paris. On hand for this week’s event were members of the city’s active spoken word scene.

For non-French speakers, there’s a lot of blood and torture in the text!

Continue reading ‘The Pillow Project’

Passing Love

In 1999, after years of working in the corporate world, Jacqueline Luckett took a creative writing class on a dare.

She hasn’t looked back since.

Now the author of two novels and a core member of a writers group featured in O Magazine, Luckett is an inspiration for those wondering about the possibilities of their lives. “I’ve finally begun to understand that it doesn’t matter how long it takes to get around to fulfilling your dream,” she writes in a blog post discussing her love of Paris and writing, “just as long as we have them and try our best to fulfill them.”

Both of Luckett’s novels – Searching for Tina Turner and this year’s Passing Love – center on women seeking a change. I think you’ll agree that Luckett proves it’s never too late to chase what you want – and that it’s the journey that counts.

Thanks so much to Jackie for coming on the blog today.

Your protagonist, Nicole, dreamed about Paris since the time she was a little girl, yet doesn’t make it to the city until she’s in her mid-50s. For you, what is it about Paris that inspires people to dream? And why were you drawn to set the novel here?

I’ve been in love with Paris for a long time, yet I never pushed myself to visit. I wasn’t adventurous in my twenties and I kept waiting for someone to go with me. That’s partly the basis for Nicole’s failure to fulfill her promise. But she served the old adage—“Better late than never”—quite well.

My mother told me after reading Passing Love, that she always thought I was a natural dreamer and drama queen. Though I’ve never thought of myself that way, Paris inspires me to express what my mother seems to have known all along. Why not?! I love the anonymity I have when I’m in Paris. No one cares what I do, what I wear, or what I look like, and I feel a freedom that’s different from when I’m at home in California.

For Americans, particularly those of us on the West Coast, Paris with its old buildings, its streets cobbled with stones that have been there for decades, if not centuries, is very different from where we live. Sure, there are old buildings in the United States, but in California they don’t date much before the 19th Century. So we’re in awe of what we see in Paris. Movies, books and photographs have fed our curiosity and set our expectations about Paris. So much so that I think we go there prepared to do and be different from our everyday selves.

We gawk at the towering peaks of Notre Dame and wonder about The Hunchback. If it’s raining, we conjure up Gene Kelly dancing in the rain. Or Paul Newman and Sidney Poitier playing jazz in Paris nightclubs. We let our imaginations run free as we wander about the city admiring the fashions, eating the food, listening to French and wishing we’d paid more attention to our high school French teachers.

Because Paris is so culturally different than U.S. cities, it spurs new thoughts and behaviors. It sparks our imaginations because our senses are constantly presented with new images, sounds, and smells: rose petals scattered on a florist’s floor, an afternoon of people-watching and sipping espresso at an outdoor café—especially if it’s a café as well-known as Café Aux Deux Magots. There we imagine what life must have been like for the American authors who sat in those caned chairs writing novels and poetry.

In Passing Love, I wanted to write a story about women who challenged themselves to step beyond ordinary. Sure, this could have happened in any other city. Truthfully, because of my affection for (and emotional connection to) Paris, it was the logical place for my characters to be.

Continue reading ‘Passing Love’

Soaking up Sunshine; Stocking up on Books

Lazing around Le Square du Vert-Galant

Pont Neuf Bridge

Luxembourg Gardens

Spring. Is. Amazing.

It makes me want to dance!

Continue reading ‘Soaking up Sunshine; Stocking up on Books’

Books, Glorious Books!

Sunday was one of my favorite semi-annual events in Paris: the English-language used book sale!

Twice a year SOS Help holds a 4-hour extravaganza where eager Anglophones come to stock up on new (to them) reads.

I like that the money goes toward a good cause, but selfishly what I really like are the prices. All paperbacks go for 1 euro, hardcovers for 2.

Guess how many I picked up? 35!

My loot from the book sale

This was the limit of the cash in my wallet and the amount I could physically carry back with me on the metro. I always come equipped with a large bag to the sale, but what I really need is a rolling cart!

Continue reading ‘Books, Glorious Books!’

Strangers in Paris (Book + Launch Party!)

Well here’s the thing to get me back into Paris and the writing life.

I recently had a story published in a new anthology entitled “Strangers in Paris: New Writing from the City of Light.” The book features lots of great contributors (including John Berger and poet Alice Notley!).

I have no idea how the heck I ended up in such good company, but I’m thrilled!

The Paris launch of the book will be this coming Monday, July 25, at Shakespeare & Co. Ten or so contributors will be reading. I’m excited and nervous to be one of them.

Continue reading ‘Strangers in Paris (Book + Launch Party!)’

In the Past Imperfect

For the second day in a row, I had a lovely writer double date. Yesterday I met up with Karin of An Alien Parisienne and Isabelle Solal at Buttes Chaumont, my favorite Paris park.

Topics of conversation were mainly about writing craft, though there was a fair bit of girly talk, too.

Isabelle recently took the plunge and put her debut novel directly onto Amazon’s Kindle Store. As I’ve been watching the current traditional vs self-publishing show-down with rapt attention, you better believe I’ll be following her journey. I’ll borrow any tips should I decide to go that route.

I’ve already learned from Isabelle that I don’t actually need a Kindle to read an ebook for Kindle. (Who knew?) You can download a copy to your computer.

I haven’t yet had a chance to read In the Past Imperfect, but if it’s as light and bright as Isa, it should be fun. It’s an updated take on Persuasion with a twist – and transported to France.

Continue reading ‘In the Past Imperfect’

Author Interview: Laura Furman

Photo credit: Ave Bonar

Laura Furman is an award-winning fiction and nonfiction writer and teacher. Her new collection of short stories, The Mother Who Stayed, out last month, is already receiving rave reviews.

Short story writers the world over also hope to catch Ms. Furman’s eye, as she is the editor of the prestigious PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories series featuring some of the best short stories written in the English-language today.

I caught up with her after a recent reading at the American Library of Paris to talk about publishing, Paris, and not trying to please anyone with your work until it’s done.

Continue reading ‘Author Interview: Laura Furman’


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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