Posts Tagged 'Vermont College'

Borderlands/Home

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….

MFA, USA

long lonely road ahead

Countdown: less than 48 hours left in Paris before heading to the States for a month! The itinerary: Washington, DC, New York City, Montpelier, Vermont.

I’m going for the usual reason – wonderful, revitalizing, and truly necessary friend and family time.

There’s another reason for my trip, however. I’m returning to Vermont College’s low-residency writing program to continue a Master of Fine Arts degree in Fiction. I completed the first year of the MFA program a few years back. Then life sort of happened. You know, the whole living in another country and having my world turned upside down thing.

I’m not actually sure I’m ready to jump back in, but a fortuitous set of circumstances (read, some funding) made it possible for me to give it another go. I haven’t written much fiction the past few years and I’m also heading into a critical thesis semester in addition to the creative work I need to churn out, so it’s no exaggeration to say I’m nervous. But it’s also exciting and some focus (and adrenaline) is probably just what I need.

For those unfamiliar with the low-residency writing model, twice a year I go to an intense 10-day writing residency for workshops, lectures, readings, and all-around writing extravaganza where I’ll also talk with distinguished faculty and choose one as my semester advisor. For the next 6 months after the residency I will write from Paris and continue to get critical feedback and critique from my advisor. Pretty cool.

I’m not sure what this means for the blog yet; I’ll probably have to cut down on the frequency of my posting, but I sure as heck don’t want to give it up. Blogging has deepened my appreciation of Paris and my expat life more than anything else.

Bear with me if the new rhythm is a bit wonky at first. Thanks for taking the ride so far and I hope to have much more to share in the future!

A bientot!


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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