Archive for November, 2011

Tea Time

Tea at L'Oisive The

Well it had to happen sometime: my first cold of the winter. It’s not so bad, but when I felt the first tickle in the back of my throat, I knew it was on.

It is a time of tea. Much tea and honey. Before my (very minor; I am a baby) sickness befell me, I had just been frequenting two teahouses quite recently. One new to me; one an old standby. Was I preemptively preparing?

I’d heard about L’OisiveThé in the village-y Buttes Aux Cailles neighborhood for awhile. Owned by Aimee (which sounds French, but she is really American!) the teahouse also doubles as a knitting mecca. On first glance you’d be forgiven for focusing on the yarn more than the tea.


My friend could also be forgiven for whispering, “I’m the only dude here.”

Yes, yes it was true.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

As we speak, this wonderful, witty woman is making + baking a Thanksgiving feast.

Good times at my birthday

(To avoid confusion, I’m referring to the woman who is not me in the picture, of course. You know by now, yes? I don’t cook or bake. I am very thankful others do!)

Molly is my fabulous American friend who is hosting Thanksgiving dinner tonight with her French partner. I think it will mainly be French people, which is why the feast doesn’t begin until 8 PM. (Don’t they know you’re supposed to eat and drink all day?! Well, it is just a regular Thursday here, I suppose.)

No matter, this allows me more time to reflect on what I am thankful for.

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Going Vegan at Voy Alimento

As you know, covering restaurants isn’t my main focus. There are tons of great Paris foodie blogs and I am not one. I do love checking out the offbeat, though, and this little place fit the bill.

Voy Alimento is located on a small street just off Canal Saint Martin. I’m pretty sure I saw the name “Sol Semilla” first, though. Turns out Voy Alimento is a combo resto/medicinal herb boutique. It serves vegan food with a Latin American emphasis and is a supply shop for imported plants and spices. If that’s not niche, I’m not sure what is.

One side of the small space is devoted to products for purchase and the other side is set for eating. Recycled barrels serve as chairs. Clues that this will not be a traditional dining experience.

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Reincarnation (New Poem Published)

Last night on my way to the American Library for Evenings with an Author, I had to stop a minute to admire the Eiffel Tower in the mist. I really loved not being able to see the top; it seemed even more compelling this way, part of it lost in the fog.

Writing is similar for me, in a way. I might start with one clear image, but the rest remains hidden from view. I feel there is something real and concrete within the hazy mist and I just have to find it. There’s an aura of mystery to the process…and frankly I think I better keep it that way. Poke around too much and I’m afraid some of the magic alchemy that happens might disappear.

I have a poem over on The Buffalo Creek Review if you want to take a look. I don’t consider myself a poet, but I don’t question too much the form work takes. The “I” in poetry is particularly interesting to me.

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Postcards from Paris

When Andrew Shemin, an American filmmaker living in Paris since 2001, contacted me to share the trailer for a new documentary of Paris he recently shot, I was interested not only because I love getting to know more of the creative community in the city, but also because of the way he described the impetus for his film.

“My motivation to make this documentary came out of the fact that I moved here because I was in love with Paris from a very early age, and yet after living here for so many years, I was starting to feel disillusioned in some ways…I made this documentary to get some images that can share the way I feel with an audience.”

You know me; I had to ask more. It’s one of my obsessions, of course: this complicated relationship I think a lot of us have with Paris. Loving it fiercely, but experiencing its flaws. Differentiating between the fantasy and the real City of Light.

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Author Interview: Alexander Maksik

It’s my absolute delight to interview Alexander Maksik today. His debut novel, You Deserve Nothing, is being heralded as “superb,” “beautifully written,” and a “bravura performance” by everyone from The New York Times to The Irish Examiner and The Sunday Times.

You Deserve Nothing was the first book published under Europa Books’ new imprint Tonga Books, and was acquired and edited by Alice Sebold, the bestselling author of The Lovely Bones. The novel is set in Paris at an international high school and Maksik’s own experience living in Paris for many years helped him evoke the city with a stunning seductiveness perfect for this story of power, idealism, and morality.

Maksik is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and is currently the Provost’s Postgraduate Writing Fellow in fiction at the University of Iowa. I’m thrilled he took the time to answer a few of my questions.

Paris has been written about so much by so many different people; it’s almost a symbol as much as a city. Why did you choose to set your first novel in Paris?

I can’t imagine the novel set in another city. While working on the book, I always imagined that Paris was to Will [the young English teacher in the book], what Will was to Gilad [one of Will’s students]. Paris is a disappointment to anyone who has lived there long enough. Not that it isn’t an extraordinary place, but in the end there will be disenchantment – because of its beauty, or perhaps its failure to manifest that beauty in one’s personal life. I don’t know another city that promises quite what Paris promises. There’s even a syndrome associated with that disappointment – Syndrome de Paris. To a large extent the novel addresses personal and collective mythologizing, and how much our individual decisions are motivated by a need to avoid the inevitable moment of sincere and profound loss. I think the question that the novel poses finally is what to do with disappointment. The sudden disappearance, not just of fulfillment, but the promise of fulfillment, is something we cannot prepare for and I wanted to explore that idea.

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Sunny November Birthday

Happy in Portugal

Paris ordered up sun for my birthday! I’m so excited!

That’s a picture of me in sunny Portugal, by the way, not Paris, but you know, it still holds: good weather, happy times.

Looking forward to celebrating today and seeing what my new year has in store.

Have a great weekend!

iPhone Filching and Foodspotting Article

iPhone in the Box

Last night I went to L’Imprévu Café with my new friend Annie (see how many new friends I’m making lately? Amazing what happens when I get out of the house!)

We were enjoying our chai tea (it’s so good there) when two young guys approached us asking for money. They were using a technique I see more on the metro or on the street – silence, with their sad story written on a sign.

But bastards!

The sign proclaiming them out of work was really the prop. My friend had her iPhone on the table waiting for a call and one of the guys laid the sign on the table.

No, no, we said.

What he was really doing was stealing the iPhone from underneath the sign. It all happened so quickly and we didn’t see a thing. Though I had been immediately wary we didn’t even have time to realize what was happening.

Continue reading ‘iPhone Filching and Foodspotting Article’

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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