Monthly Archives

March 2012

C’est La Vie

Only a few more days before I take a trip overseas to gather ‘content’ for my eagerly awaited new novel. This journey is essential. It is….no it is. I swear it is, honestly it is! Listen, if Elizabeth Gilbert could have written Eat, Pray, Love at her kitchen table she would have done, wouldn’t she? As a writer it is vital to have original, authentic experiences.  It is. It really is.

‘Absolutely it is’ I hear you say. And I agree with you. You simply cannot get all you need from Google. There comes a time in the life of an artist where you have to make sacrifices; suffer for your art.  And that my friend is the only reason that next week I’m going to Paris. It really is.

Unlike Elizabeth Gilbert, I will not be back-packing, although this will still be a spiritual journey as I’ll be staying in Saint-Germain. I assure you this is not because of the refined, classic style of the hotel, but so that I can really study what it is about the cafes and bars that attracted Sartre there. In the interests of building out my main character, I will not be staying in hostels, traveling coach or using the Métro. My protagonist is not in Paris to be a tourist; au contraire mon ami, she is there to find herself, (the bit that she lost in a sea of unflattering skinny jeans and smock tops while living in Los Angeles.)

I hope by now you are feeling some real pity for me because I am the one who will have to shop in rue Montmartre and rue de Sevres in order to understand French tailoring. It will be ‘pauvre moi’ who is forced to dine at La Closerie des Lilas, (again solely to discover what made it so attractive to Hemingway when he was writing The Sun Also Rises.) I will try my best to blog and journal through this ordeal… Au revoir…I want to share that it helps me to know that you wish me “God’s speed until my safe return.”

La Vie Parisienne

I’m back in LA after my sojourn in Paris, where, for reasons that made sense at the time, I decided the worst possible thing that could happen would be to be taken for a tourist in St Germain des Pres.

I became insanely French very quickly; within hours of landing I owned a navy blue cashmere jacket and several scarves, was walking into galleries with an air of distraction and then focus, totally confident in my Gallic persona unless anyone spoke to me.

During the week, despite a hankering for une andouilette avec une oeuf dur for breakfast, I settled on les croissants and in between times, a great deal of ‘saumon’ and  Sancerre; the two things I could order at speed with the right accent, having lost  confidence attempting lunch in a tiny café one day when the maitre d’ greeted me at break neck speed with- ‘Je suis désolé, Madame, mais nous avons arrêté servant le déjeuner. Nous avons de précuit des soupes dans le réfrigérateur si vous soigneriez pour l’un choisir. ’

I responded with a degree of pouting that probably looks horribly wrong on a woman my age and went over to the fridge scanning everything in there for words I could pronounce.

“Carot s’il vous plait.”  I said, handing him the jar, then taking off my coat and looking for somewhere to sit before noticing he was putting it into a paper bag, not warming it up. I handed over my Euros, hesitated for a moment wondering whether to risk asking for a drink, decided against it and ended up in a nearby back alley slugging ice- cold soup from the bottle.

Immersion is a great thing; a few days later my high school grasp of the language was coming to my rescue and when approached by a tres chic woman asking for directions I was able to tell her where to find the Rue San Sulpice, confident I’d not sent her via The Loire Valley.

I also had a sexual encounter at Studio 34, a hairdressing salon, not a nightclub, but nevertheless an experience that would have given Studio 54 a run for its money and without the inconvenience of rehab. The massage chair left me barely able to walk after my color was rinsed off. I highly recommend it; your hair may come out orange, depending on your own grasp of the language, but it will have been well worth it. Trust me.