Becoming an American Pen-Pusher in Paris

American author, David Sedaris, signs books at the Village Voice Bookshop…

Becoming an American Pen-Pusher in Paris

Parler Paris Previews…
A Weekly Community Calendar for English-Speaking Paris

Calendar #97

Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Paris, France

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Dear Parler Paris Reader,

There are more writers in Paris than I have hairs on my head, or on my whole body for that matter. (Please excuse this metaphor which may conjure up a fairly grim image of a rather hairy Neanderthal-like woman!)

In fact, almost everyone I know is a writer — at least among the Americans and other Anglophones. I don’t know if that’s because writers attract other writers (“birds of a feather…”) or because Paris is simply one of the most inspiring places on the planet to pour one’s presence onto paper. (Please excuse the pathetic alliteration — but you may have noticed that the word “Paris” naturally elicits from me the use of “P” words like “Parler” and “Previews” and “Party.”)

The writers I know call themselves all sorts of names (in alphabetical order): authors, biographers, columnists, contributors, correspondents, critics, dramatists, editors, essayists, journalists, memoirists, novelists, playwrights, poets, reporter, screenwriters, wordsmiths…and sometimes even hacks, ink-slingers and pen-pushers, although we all know no one writes by hand anymore and so should be called key-punchers instead.

There are certainly loads of people in Paris who call themselves any one of those names, but no one actually ever reads their words…and there are those whose words are religiously read who don’t call themselves anything at all.

You realize that all of what I’ve just written is just a pile of words with no point whatsoever other than to tease and test my own intellect — a sort of mental masturbation. (Uh oh, there I go again alliterating for no reason at all.)

Paris past has hosted such literary luminaries such as Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Richard Wright, James Baldwin, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry Miller, Chester Himes, Irwin Shaw, James Jones, Harry Mathews, John Ashbery, and William Burroughs, plus hundreds of others. Paris present hosts a new breed of brilliant wordsmiths such as David Sedaris, Alice Steinbach, Adam Gopnik, Edmund White, Diane Johnson, Jake Lamar, Cara Black, and the list goes on and on, including all my writer-friends whose books line the shelves, now double deep, their signatures indelible on the title pages.

I saw and heard David Sedaris speak last week at the Village Voice Bookshop on rue Princesse (6th) which regularly hosts readings and book-signings. The crowd filled both the upper and lower levels of the shop a solid hour before he was scheduled to speak, evidence of how American writers in Paris have risen to untold popularity heights. Of course, Sedaris has a wit tough to match, a style all his own, that he brings to Paris where he claims he is, too, inspired.

Those in Paris who call themselves any one of those writerly names, but no one actually ever reads their words, are clearly aspiring to be among those whose words are religiously read, but don’t call themselves anything at all. Paris offers the tools, for would-be writers to achieve that success.

The tools are not the pen and paper, computer or cassette recorder. The “tools” are the very accomplished craftsmen themselves who are willing to give of their knowledge and experience to give birth to a new breed of American authors. Over the next coming weeks and months, some of Paris’ most brilliant writers will be sharing their talents with small groups of “wannabes” aimed at learning the techniques as well as those “in print and published” w

ho intend to hone their skills.

Learn from such masters as Cecilia Woloch whose Paris Poetry Workshop has become an institution, the 5th one scheduled here in May; you can test out your novel and non-fiction writing with Jennifer Dick; and do some well-deserved creative renewal with Kathleen Spivak; or register for the Writing Salon that promises Places to Write, People to Meet, Stories to Tell with James Navé.

If you’re serious about becoming more than just an ink-slinger, pen-pusher or key-puncher, then be sure to visit today’s Parler Paris Previews Community Calendar for a complete list of courses and workshops you can take both here in Paris and elsewhere to become one of those whose words are religiously read, but don’t call themselves anything at all.

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

P.S. Without language, there are no words. Hone your French-English language skills at the Parler Parlor French-English conversation group, celebrating its 8th anniversary on March 11th with a Buffet and Crêpes Party! Come for conversation at 11 a.m. and then stay for lunch and take 10 euros off a 10-session card or 20 euros off a 20-session card that day! The party is open to everyone and the first time you come is free. Visit for details.



French Property Insider

The Budget of the City of Paris
By Adrian Leeds

Where do our taxes go? In a vote that will take place before March 31st, the city hopes to create 850 new child care centers, 9 more hectares of parks and green space, two public swimming pools, seven elementary schools, a junior high-school and nine public housings… FPI Subscribers Read On…

Learn how to buy property in France. French Property Insider is an e-mail newsletter from the editors of Parler Paris. Learn all the insights, recommendations, and discoveries about buying and investing in real estate in Paris and France that French Property Insider readers get every week.

Subscribe today!

Insider Paris Guides

* Excerpt from the Writers Insider Guide to Paris…


A brief overview of Paris-based publishing cannot go without mentioning perhaps one of the most significant and long-standing journals created during the postwar period: The Paris Review. As Christopher Sawyer-Lauçanno writes in The Continual Pilgrimage, “The early history of The Paris Review is in many ways the story of the Parisian expatriate literary community itself. Almost every Anglophone writer and would-be writer in Paris in the early to middle 1950s seemed to be at one time or another involved with the review, as contributor, advisory editor, or playmate.”…For more on the fascinating history of Paris publishing, see the guide….

Novelists, journalists, poets, dreamers and doers…discover the writing life in Paris. It is possible, click here to find out how….

Further Resources

* Get all the insider information about what there is to see and do in Paris, from and for the very active Black community. This is the first guide of its kind, totally devoted to Black Paris. Click here for more details.

* Boost Your French Language Skills! Champs-Elysées audiomagazines on CD/tape with accompanying magazine will significantly increase your French vocabulary and improve your listening comprehension. Don’t let your language skills go to waste! Stay fluent and in touch with the language and culture you love.

* Practice your French or English in a fun and friendly environment with interesting people from all over the world at Parler Parlor. Join us Saturday, March 11 at 11 a.m. for our 8TH ANNIVERSARY BUFFET AND CREPES PARTY! Conversation at 11 a.m. then stay at 12:30 p.m. for lunch! Visit

Calendar #97
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Paris, France


To access the complete Community Calendar, you now have two choices:

1. Click here for the online version with hot links to your favorite sites:

2. Click here for a printer-friendly text version:


We gladly run announcements for non-profit organizations. If you wish your community announcement to appear, please provide the text in ENGLISH just as you’d like it to appear and send it to Lynda Sydney:

We reserve the right to edit as necessary. We cannot promise it will be run if the information is provided in French or if the format is unacceptable. Please use the following listings as your format guide.

Thank you, Adrian

Classified Advertising

Leeds Marais Guest Room or Entire Two-Bedroom Apartment

Available in its entirety May 19 – 30, 2006

Located in a 17th century Le Marais Hotel Particulier, this 70 square meter two-bedroom apartment with lots of light is nicely furnished and is perfect for a single woman in the freshly renovated guest room when owner Adrian Leeds is in or for up to 4 people when she’s traveling.

Pictures and more details available here: Marais Guest Room or Entire Apartment

APARTMENT RENTAL is offering 30% off apartment rentals during the month of February: 4-star suite 90 euros/night, luxury attic apartment 70 euros/night, romantic studio 65 euros/night with champagne included for special Valentine’s Day celebration! Visit or email Pascal at for this special offer.


Coming soon…Parler Paris Apartments rental representation at If you have a property ín Paris you’d like to keep booked and represented properly, please email Parler Paris Apartments at for more information.

For all short term rental apartments in Paris, take a look at /parlerparis/apartments or
/frenchproperty/insider/longterm.html for long term apartments.


Parler Paris Après Midi

Come for a drink and to meet and chat with other readers in Paris:

The next gathering is March 14, 2006Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group

Practice speaking French and English. Make friends, discuss interesting topics, learn about other cultures, progress in understanding and speaking, naturally and easily. Meets three times a week — come as often as you like.

Next Event: 8th Anniversary Celebration March 11th, 11 a.m. at Eurocentres. Watch for more information.


Subscribe to the PARISMARAIS monthly newsletter FREE
The Art of Living Guide to Le Marais.

Click here for a Special Happy New Year from Paris Marais


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