Archive for October, 2011

Dive Bars and Classy Cocktails

Last Friday I went to a little dive bar around the corner from my apartment to see a new friend play some good old American covers.

Bar 96 is one of those nondescript hole-in-the-walls.

Perry Leopard and his Caballeros Simpaticos humbly set up in the back. After a few tunes, a woman joined to sing a few songs. That’s when I did a real double-take.

Turns out Lucy Dixon has her own jazz album and was a long-running member of STOMP. You know, one of those multi-talented dancer/singers. Check out her Myspace page for some much better sounds than I could capture on my pocket camera.

Her voice was amazing. I loved the surprise of being in this low-key neighborhood bar and then, bam! Talent!

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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!

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Breaking It Down to Jacques Brel

This week I finally returned to my dance class after … (ahem)… a 4-month hiatus.

Part of that long period was summer when there was no class anyway (some activities in Paris simply shut down), but since September it’s been a battle to get back.

I got caught up in rentree madness; every single Tuesday there was an expo or reading I wanted to go to at the same time.

Then my neck gave out.

So this week…finally! The triumphant return!

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Faux Pas Friday: Outing to the Osteopath

Fort Collins Back Pain
Before I moved to France, the word ‘osteopath’ was not in my vocabulary, much less a person I would actually go see.

Give me five years and several stretches of fifteen-hour days behind the computer, though, and an osteopathe becomes a savior.

Not a chiropractor or a physical therapist, the osteopathe as far as I can tell is someone who uses manual manipulation to treat musculoskeletal problems.

It’s not exactly a newsflash that the human body isn’t meant to sit at a work station staring at a screen all day. And yet, alas, this is the fate of so many of us.

Back in May I had a crick in my neck that wouldn’t go away. After a few days it was not just a crick in the neck but a major pain in the….well, still the neck. I couldn’t move my head, I’d moan when I had to turn in bed, I felt almost paralyzed.

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Author Interview: Anne Marsella

Anne Marsella is an American writer who has been living in Paris for 22 years. Her first book, The Lost and Found and Other Stories, won the Elmer Holmes Bobst Award for Emerging Writers in 1994. Since then, she has written two other novels in English – and one directly in French! Anne was kind enough to answer a few questions for me in advance of her October 12 reading at the American Library of Paris.

Your writing is quite difficult to classify. It has fairy tale elements, as well as literary and chick-lit leanings. How would you describe your style or aesthetic – and how did it arrive to you? (Influence of certain writers? Conscious decision? Organic discovery?)

I see my writing in part as an ongoing conversation with the writers, and collective narratives (ie fairy stories) that precede me – those I love and admire in particular – and, to a lesser extent, current story-telling trends, such as chick-lit, a form I subvert in my novel Remedy. My writing process is largely organic, guided by both intuitive and conscious choices about language; mostly I want my characters and their language to surprise me — not just occasionally but most of the time. I put my pen to the service of sensibility and this switches the focus of the narrative from plot to a singularity of voice (or voices) and energy, which must drive the story forward.

Herman Melville writes in The Confidence Man: “The people in a fiction…must dress as nobody exactly dresses, talk as nobody exactly talks, act as nobody exactly acts. It is with fiction as with religion: it should present another world, and yet one to which we feel the tie.” This is by no means a prescription for the conventional novel but it is one I naturally adhere to and I always have a copy of the operatic Moby Dick on my writing desk. I need to have my literary ancestors near me even if their genius is nearly crushing. Though they don’t crush: their presence keeps me afloat.

Continue reading ‘Author Interview: Anne Marsella’


I have a wee statement on “compression” in writing over on Matter Press today.

For any flash fiction writers or flash poets (?) out there, Matter Press’ Journal of Compressed Creative Arts is a great market for your work. They’re looking for submissions under 600 words, they pay $50 bucks a pop and they usually respond within a week.

Speaking of compressed statements, did you know I’m on Twitter? Tweeting 140 characters at a time over there, come join me!

Happy weekend!

Someone Like You

I can’t even talk about how much this song touched me when I first heard it.

(Hint: sobbing mess).

And now Paris as backdrop!

Now I’m just happy to have all this beauty in one place: that voice! those words! this city!

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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