Archive for July, 2011

Paris Local Expert

From a Stranger in Paris last night to a Local Expert today, I sure do get to take on many identities by living in the City of Light.

I realized something recently: in just a few months I’ll be reaching my five-year anniversary of the move to Paris. Half a decade! That will match – and then quickly surpass – the amount of time I lived in New York.

Wow. Paris becomes the place I’ve lived the longest since leaving my mama’s house at 18. Definitely nothing I ever planned. Isn’t life grand?

Actually not the view from *my* Paris home. Friend/Blogger Jennyphoria lives here!

Continue reading ‘Paris Local Expert’


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!)’

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Splitscreen: A Love Story

The Paris/New York love continues!

I often feel like I want to live parallel lives – one in NYC, the other in the City of Light. (Actually, I have *many* different versions. Multiple lives?)

Anyway, haven’t figured out how to do it yet, but it’s possible onscreen.


-Video by JW Griffiths

Where would you live your parallel lives? What would you be doing? (Thought! Any way to combine them?)

French Touch NYC

Standard Hotel, NYC

Ok, so I’m back in Paris, but my mind is still Stateside. I’m trying to hang onto the creative inspiration of the writing residency as long as possible.

And New York? What can I say about New York? That city simply pulses with energy. All these years later and it still feels like the place where all is possible to me. Without even trying I seem to end up in amazing adventures. Why do I feel so open and free there?

You want more Paris, though? Well, let me tell you, there was a whole lotta French going on in the Big Apple. Not just all the French I actually heard (and I did!), but tons of cafes and patisseries, too. Here are a few shots of NYC’s nod to France. And then just some gratuitous pics of the city that have nothing to do with France…just because I like ’em.

Endless nutella…Crepe Stand on top of the Standard Hotel

…and obligatory rooftop shot to prove I was there

Cafe Gitane in the Jane Hotel

Trout Salad

More French-inspired finds

Continue reading ‘French Touch NYC’


Taxis and books, 5th Avenue, New York

Happy Bastille Day!

It’s been nearly three weeks that I’ve been back in the States and it’s been a great time. A beautiful wedding weekend in Brooklyn; the bubbling creativity of my writing residency in Vermont; a quick trip to DC to see family.

I’m now back in New York in a large apartment in Washington Heights, overlooking the Hudson River and hanging out with wonderful friends.

Am I home?

Well, home’s a funny word, you know. Walking the streets of New York I almost feel homesick for the city – which is strange, because I’m here!

When I was surrounded by so many amazing writers in Vermont, I also felt at home. Having so many people who understand and love the same things I do was such a gift. I am still riding that wave, but also mourning. It was hard to go.

My adorable niece!

Then family! My adorable niece who grows by leaps and bounds each time I see her. My mom who gives the best hugs, my sister and brother-in-law who are such fun.

Really, I look for community wherever I go. I guess the people in each place – they are my home.

As for where I actually live, though – yes! That is also home and how happy I am to say that it’s Paris.

I have a post over on the wonderful blog Pret a Voyager about my tiny pocket on the border of the 11th and 20th arrondissements. Here’s a taste, then head on over to read the rest if you like what you see. Anne has been featuring a tour of Paris by each arrondissement, so you might want to check out the whole series!
* * *

 “Borderlands (A Tiny Pocket of the Twentieth)”

It seems fitting where I ended up in Paris. People become passionate about their postcode, as each arrondissement has its own personality. Without falling into the trap of postal prejudice, certain quartiers do draw different demographics.

I’m most definitely a girl of the Rive Droite, and of the East. I started in the nineteenth – which will always hold a special place in my heart – but for the past three years I’ve lived right on a border. My mail bears an address of the 11th. I literally walk across the street, though, and I’m in the 20th.

Street art, 20eme

Straddling these two neighborhoods seems almost symbolic, as I’m so accustomed to having my feet on both sides: I’m torn between France and the US. I’m a New Yorker who grew up in the South. Living in between, claiming both – these feelings are my familiar.

Of course, the 11th and the 20th are hardly opposites – nothing that dramatic. Both are far from the tourist crowds, local haunts are many. These two neighborhoods slip one into the next.

The 20th is the scruffier cousin to the 11th, more populaire, more mixed. Cheaper rents mean it’s home to many immigrant populations, as well as anyone on tighter budgets. No wonder that many artists find their ateliers here, too.

This starts the spiral of gentrification, though. Because where the artists go becomes cool, non? The twentieth holds an inherent tension, then – between a tougher edge and hip trends. I’d say it’s still a mostly positive tension, an energy that animates, but it’s always something to keep an eye on.

Still, I can’t speak for large swaths of the 20th. Most days I stay faithful to my tiny borderland – I don’t have to venture far to find interesting things.

Keep reading over on Pret a Voyager….

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Harp on the A!

I know I’m back in New York when I step on the A train and find subway musicians. And not just any subway musicians – one toting a harp! I also don’t think I’ve ever heard “Guantanamera” on the harp. Ah, NYC. I love you.

I am a Master!

My reading

Hello friends,

A quick note from the States. I’m slowly emerging from the wonderful writerly bubble at Vermont College where I just spent an amazing 10 days attending lectures, readings, and workshops, as well as sinking deep into stimulating and silly, passionate and profound conversations with a variety of gifted folks. What fun! I delivered my talk on James Baldwin’s time in Paris and read from my novel-in-progress before a packed house.

And as of a few days ago, I am now a master! I’m not sure exactly what “rights and privileges” the MFA actually confers (I had to hold back a chuckle at the graduation ceremony when they said this), but I feel incredibly grateful and humbled to have been part of such a vibrant, creative community.

The fullest rainbow I've ever seen. Ephemeral and perfect, it appeared over College Hall.

Continue reading ‘I am a Master!’

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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