Did I ever tell you about my first trip to Paris?
A rainy weekend in late November 2005.
At that time, I didn’t know the gray of the sky was semi-permanent, that the drab monotony even had a name (la grisaille). I did intuit, however, that the city always looked beautiful anyway.
A transport strike (another common feature, I would learn) was in full swing and so I arrived into central Paris only after a chaotic RER and metro ride.
But out I finally popped onto Rue de Rivoli, the Hotel de Ville lit bright by early holiday lights. Beautiful. There’s that word again. I was overcome by my first sight.
Continue reading ‘Of Melancholy and Marvels; Paris Years On’
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’
Just a quick note to share some good news: the essay I wrote on Pere Lachaise a few months ago was picked up by the Utne Reader for their July/August issue!
I’m so pleased.
I haven’t seen the print version yet, but I love that it’s online, too. If you see it on the newsstands, let me know!
Published January 5, 2012
Literary/Cultural Paris , Out and About , Stuff About Sion , Writing
Tags: george whitman, life, oscar wilde, paris, pere lachaise, shakespeare & co, sion dayson
Well the new year is starting off well. I’m thrilled to share my first publication of 2012 – and a fitting new year’s essay it is. Read on to find out why.
For the past three and a half years, I’ve lived a ten-minute walk from Père Lachaise, the famed Parisian cemetery that’s home to many historic luminaries – everyone from Abelard to Chopin, Edith Piaf to Marcel Proust.
In recent weeks, talk has centered on writer Oscar Wilde; his tomb now stands encircled by thick glass, a barrier aimed to protect the stone from endless admirers’ kisses. (Of course people have already started leaving their lipstick prints on the Plexiglas instead).
Despite my close proximity to Père Lachaise, picking up the Parisian affection for the place didn’t come naturally. Not only tourists in search of Jim Morrison’s grave frequent Père Lachaise, you see. Parisians adore their largest cemetery and a stroll along its cobblestone alleys is as popular a local pastime as any.
It took me some time to understand the appeal. Tracking down rock stars’ headstones seemed less bizarre than having dates amongst the dead.
Then one day….
Yes! A cliffhanger! To read the rest of the essay, head on over to Numero Cinq.