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Desperate to be Lost in Memories and Other Lives

Friday night we slithered into The Abbey Bookshop desperately trying not to knock over the thousands of books (more than 35,000) lining the narrow corridors to hear Meg Bortin read for the first time from her new book, “Desperate to Be a Housewife and Other Adventures in the City of Light” — her “memoir about a journalist on the trail of a story with a happy ending!”

It was the annual bookshop Christmas

 The Abbey Bookshop in ParisThe Abbey Bookshop in ParisMEG BORTINMeg Bortin reads from her lastest bookDesperate to be a Housewife - by Meg Bortinrue de la Parcheminerie - photo by Mairie77110 de la Parcheminerie – photo by Mairie77110 Leonard Cohen - by Christorpher LeboldLulo Lolo and Dan Evens - photo by Ozier Muhammad/The New York TimesLulo Lolo and Dan Evens – photo by Ozier Muhammad/The New York TimesQuantum Healing Hypnosis TherapyQuantum Healing Hypnosis Therapy

party as well, and Brian Spence, the Canadian owner of the shop since 1989, was making “Vin Chaud” (mulled wine) in a large pot on a table outside on the street desperately trying to keep the light rain from spoiling the broth. Christophe Lebold, author of a new Leonard Cohen biography (in French), was to read from his new book just after Meg, and strangely enough, it was this small book that seemed to continuously fall with the passing of each new person into the shop.

(Small footnote about The Abbey Bookshop, written by Junko Benjamin: “The shop sits on rue de la Parcheminerie, originally named rue des Escrivains for the scribes and scriveners who were the heart of the Parisian book trade until parchment-makers replaced them in the late Middle Ages. On July 1, 1989 the Abbey Bookshop brought the book trade back to this historic street.”)

Meg Bortin is an old friend who has lived in Paris almost 40 years and is a “career journalist who has worked for many publications, notably the International Herald Tribune, where she was a senior editor for many years.” She is also the author of a food blog, “The Everyday French Chef” (you may recall a recent Nouvellettre® touting her Caesar Salad as the best I’d ever eaten —

Meg and I lost contact for many years while she was raising a daughter, in spite of living only 500 meters apart. There I stood in front of her not breathing for fear of knocking over books, heckling like I am known to do, while she read from the memoir to give us a taste of what was in store for us as her readers. I’d already read about one-third of the book before coming to the reading, so had an idea it was going to be ‘juicy.’

In “Desperate,” Meg exposes herself and her life fully, as if viewing it all in third person, calling herself “Mona Venture” and having changed the names of the others to “protect the guilty” (as she joked). When asked what it felt like to bare her soul (and her body) to her soon-to-be thousands of readers, she explained how remembering the past was more like ‘channeling’ the memories. In a rather trance-like state, the words would magically appear on her computer screen and after a couple of hours of writing, she’d reawaken with a new chapter virtually complete, in utter exhaustion, having given all she got.

I got it, too. For one thing, when you read the passages, you do feel as if you were there with her at that moment in time, when she is physically and emotionally dealing with the trials and tribulations of youth, love, career, sex, etc. All the best artists I’ve known in my life (who were not intellectually manufactured at their own hands) were known to admit they ‘channeled’ their work, as if they were ‘instruments of God.’ Michael Jackson once said this about his own work: “I feel fortunate for being that instrument through which music flows. I’m just the source through which it comes. I can’t take credit for it because it’s Gods work. He’s just using me as the messenger…”

Standing next to me at The Abbey Bookshop listening to Meg Bortin desperately read was Lulu Lolo and her husband, Dan Evans, who have both led fascinating lives…with even more in store for both of them here in Paris. I cannot explain the connection I felt with Lulu upon our first meeting, as if we had known each other in ‘another life,’ although we haven’t spoken of this. Still, Dan, seated across the table from both of us at dinner the next evening, thanked us for having the opportunity to witness us side-by-side, as he was surprised how similar we were in demeanor and style, like bookends, in spite of our totally different ethnic backgrounds and upbringings (she New York Italian, me New Orleans Jewish).

My daughter, Web and graphic designer/photographer/jewelry designer/person of personas, has launched a new career of her own delving wholeheartedly into “Quantam Healing Hypno-Therapy” I don’t expect you to know what this is!

As she puts it, “Quantum Healing Hypnosis Therapy (QHHT) is the incredible process by which direct communication with your ‘Subconscious’ or ‘Higher Self’ is facilitated using a cutting edge hypnosis technique developed over 45 years by author and pioneering regression hypnotherapist Dolores Cannon. This unique method focuses on exploring past lives in order to understand current life challenges as well as performing instantaneous physical and/or emotional healing by way of the great powers of the ‘Subconscious.'”

When mentioning this to Lulu and Dan, they both exclaimed their beliefs in the existence of past lives and told stories to support their beliefs, even knowing many people might think they had lost their minds! If you believe that one can ‘channel’ their art, like Meg or Michael Jackson, then you can believe in having past lives — and perhaps Lulu and I had some connection in our own past lives to explain why to Dan we seem so similar.

By now you might think I’ve lost my own mind!…or at least the one I have in this lifetime. I hope to find out more while Erica is here for the holidays as she is scheduling QHHT sessions for those willing to explore their memories beyond the present…and Lulu and I each plan to be among them! (If you are desperately interested, visit and schedule a session with Erica here in Paris, New York or Los Angeles [where she frequents].)

A la prochaine…

Adrian LeedsAdrian Leeds

Director of The Adrian Leeds Group, LLC

Respond to Adrian



author Meg Bortin.S. Meg Bortin will be speaking February 11, 2014 at Parler Paris Après Midi — so mark your calendar to hear all about her desperation to be a housewife, plus more!

P.P.S. Make your trip to Paris over the holidays extra-special with Parler Paris Plus. Treat that special someone to a goodie basket, spa package, tickets to the ballet or opera — anything your heart desires! To learn more visit Parler Paris Plus or to book your concierge services, contact us at [email protected]

P.P.P.S. Holiday Closure: Parler Parlor French-English Conversation Group will be closed from Thursday, December 19 to Thursday, January 2, reopening on Saturday, January 4, 2014. Happy holidays!


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