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Telling Tales of Success

She was nervous, sparkling, charming and refreshing — the American born author and photographer, Kristin Espinasse, who discovered a new life for herself after marrying a Frenchman, having a couple of kids and setting up life in Provence. She did what so many dream of — she took a simple idea and with a lot of bright ideas, courage and enthusiasm, not to mention perseverance, turned it into a successful blog and several published books. You will know them all as “French Word-a-Day.”

Kristin spoke before a packed audience at Shakespeare & Co. Monday night, perspiring a bit, even a little shaky, and referring to her adoring husband, a “vigneron” (winemaker), Jean-Marc Espinasse, who sat nearby against the collection of classic books that ‘are not for sale’ upstairs at the legendary bookstore. Sylvia Beach Whitman, daughter of owner George Whitman who has been the heart of the bookstore for many years now, hid sweetly behind the side door to hear her words. We all sat mesmerized to learn how Kristin had made such a success from so little.

We all want to know how, right?…or at least, all those who aspire to express themselves in words or in photos. She really couldn’t explain her own secrets, but from what she said, and from reading her written words and browsing her images, I can make a few good guesses.

No question, she has a talent to see the detail in life — evident from the focused clarity and heart in her colorful photos of Provence — not the usual landscapes, but the details often we may miss moving a little too fast, but she didn’t. This is also evidenced in her stories, where one minutia of an experience can be woven into a fascinating tale that describes her life in the French countryside. Sure, she’s a good writer, if not a bit unpolished, although full of heart — enabling you, the reader, to feel as if you’re in her shoes. But most important to her success, was that one brilliant simple idea to which people could easily relate, and her never-ending perseverance to succeed.

I’ve come to know hundreds of writers (and photographers) since living in Paris. They are a ‘dime a dozen’ here, all aspiring for much the same thing. Few actually ‘make it’ — meaning gaining some sort of notoriety or at least recogniti

on. None of them do it for the money — there isn’t much money in it; not really. But it’s something they can’t live without doing, like an artist who must paint, or a musician who must compose. And their only real reward is simply the recognition that they have accomplished something of note and that their words (or images) have made an impact on someone else’s life.

If you are one of those people, then take heart to the advice there is to give by those who have had success. And listen beyond their lessons, but pay attention to who they are as people and what sets them apart from the rest who continue to follow, not lead. Here in Paris and other parts of France there are a number of workshops in which you can participate, learn and take heart. We at Parler Paris support all those we feel are worthy of your time, energy (and money)…given by the writers and photographers who are leading the pack and making a success of their talents, ideas and perseverance.

This coming Spring…

  • Hear about “A Night at the Movies” with Judith Merians at the American Library in Paris, Thursday, March 25, 2010, 7:30 p.m….
  • Come hear “Little Eden” by Timothy Smith read by actors!
    Sunday, April 11, 2010…
  • Learn how to “Tell Your Better Story” with James Navé in La Bouvetière, Normandy, April 12 to April 14, 2010…
  • Find the courage, the inspiration, and the time to write about what matters most to you at the Essoyes School in the Heart of Champagne
    April 13 to 19, 2010…
  • Sign up for the Paris Poetry Workshop with Cecilia Woloch, May 16 through May 21, 2010…
  • Or join the AWAI Travel Division in Paris May 9 through 13, 2010, and spend four days learning from and exploring the city in the company of like-minded travelers with professional photographer Shelly Perry…

All these, and more can help you make your dreams come true, too…of course with your own talent and drive added to the recipe of success.

For more information on all these workshops and more…visit both:

A la prochaine…

Adrian Leeds
Editor, Parler Paris

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P.S. If you haven’t already booked your space for Sunday night at Paris Soirées where I will be speaking on HOW TO SUCCEED AS AN ‘ALIEN’ IN A FRENCH WORLD! Scroll down for more information and to reserve your place.

P.P.S. See you Tuesday March 9th at Parler Paris Après Midi — where you will get to meet other readers of Parler Paris and share your experiences. Visit for more information.

P.P.S. Congratulations to Erica Simone (Leeds) on her win of Profoto Assistant’s Monthly Competition! See for more information.


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