Writing from the Head and Heart in Paris
What you see today is “writing from ‘Control Central.'” That’s what I’m affectionately calling this new and massive desk unit. It spans from one end of the “salon” to the other, and took countless hours to design, build and install. Now that it’s virtually ready for full use, it became evident that the desk is a bit too high (time for a new chair that hydraulically lifts), the file drawers are not of perfect dimensions (now what?) and the carpenters failed to put a hole in a strategic spot in which to allow the seemingly hundreds of cords to funnel.
“Tant pis.” The list of corrections is made and now the wrinkles will get ironed out (eventually) allowing free flowing writing, whether it be Parler Paris newsletters, articles, emails or love letters. All writers must have the same need for a perfect place to concentrate and let the fingers flow freely on their keyboards (or pen on paper, for those who still like the physical connection with their words). A majority of friends and acquaintances are wordsmiths and often I’ve pondered why this is so.
First of all, writers, authors, journalist and wannabes are plentiful in Paris. Paris inspires introspection and creative writing on all levels. They come from far and wide just to experience the city’s many facets and profound history that somehow makes each word on their page more meaningful.
Secondly, writers are really fascinating people. They are both intellectual and creative at the same time. Their words paint images on blank paper not very differently than drawing lines or painting strokes on a canvas to make an impression. They are curious by nature. One can’t express even a simple emotion without reflecting on it, questioning it and research is key. For that reason, they travel, they explore and they wake up each day needing their ‘fix’ to express themselves in a solitary way, with no one but themselves to criticize.
It was surprising to learn how much I would love to write — and it all began for necessary reasons. It was simply part of the job. Then, the ‘job’ became a product of the need to write — hence, Parler Paris.
If you’ve never written before, or have attempted a few lines, but question or abilities or want to make improvements, there are countless ways you can get to a level you’ll be proud of. Here are just a few of what’s coming up:
1. “Writing from the Heart” in the Heart of Champagne, with Janet Hulstrand, Author, Editor, and Workshop Instructor
Writing from the heart is a bold act. It is not for the faint of heart. In writing truthfully we both confront and expose the most vulnerable part of ourselves, by discovering who we really are and sharing with others what we really believe. This can be both liberating and terrifying. Writing from the Heart March 23-29, 2008 is a journey into the heart of France and into your own heart. Located in Essoyes, where my Renoir lived, painted and died, participants will stay in the Hotel des Canotiers, and during the workshop address many of the obstacles that can prevent you (whether you think of yourself as a writer or not) from expressing yourself with clarity, fullness, dignity, and passion, and from enjoying the process of writing. Enrollment is limited to 10 people. For more information, visit http://winged-words.com/_wsn/page9.html and register before it’s too late! Contact [email protected] or call (202) 744 7338.
2. “The Provence Writer’s Retreat” with Louise Crowley
The Vermont College of Fine Arts invites you to its first
writers and artists retreat April 18-25, 2008 at the Auberge du Presbytère and La Bastide du Jas in the Luberon, Provence. Designed as a week for you to focus on your writing and/or art, the retreat offers opportunities to explore the region, experience a morning open-air market, hike in the Luberon Mountains, take a visit to Isle-sur-la-Sorgue (and the René Char Museum). For more information and to register, contact Louise Crowley at [email protected] or call (802) 828-8840.
3. “Writing from the Imaginative Storm” with James Nave
This will get your creative juices flowing, no doubt about it. It’s a creativity retreat held in collaboration with Asheville WordFest 2008 at the Black Mountains Center for the Arts in Black Mountain, North Carolina April 21-27, 2008. “Whether you’re just beginning your writing life, or you’re well-established and seeking new inspiration, The Writing Salon will reunite you with your sources of inspiration and help you discover wells of imagination you didn’t know you had.”
For more information on The Writing Salon and the Asheville Wordfest 2008, call (877) 994-8267 or email [email protected]
4. Screenwriters: “Plot The Perfect Crime and Find Fame and Fortune” with Judith Merians
Throughout film history crime films have provided some of the most successful movies ever made from Rififi to present day American Gangster. Learn how to write and sell a script that encompasses the conventions of three of the most popular sub-genres of crime stories: the detective tale, the crime saga, and the heist. Led by Judith Merians, who has been an entertainment lawyer and studio executive, literary agent, and film school professor in Los Angeles for over 25 years. Join us for this 3-hour workshop session sponsored by Adrian Leeds and Parler Paris Upstairs at La Pierre du Marais in Le Marais April 12, 2008 from 3 to 6 p.m. for only 30€ per person! Places are limited. For more information and to register email [email protected]
5. “The Paris Poetry Workshop” with Poet Cecilia Woloch
Over the past six years, the Paris Poetry Workshop May 11-16, 2008
led by poet Cecilia Woloch, has become a tradition in the English-speaking Paris poetry community. This is your chance to see and experience a side of Paris not readily accessible to the average tourist — an opportunity to spend time in Paris as a poet among poets. Participants generate new work, hone their craft, offer feedback and support on one another’s creative endeavors, make new friends and expand their literary horizons. The workshop is limited to 12 participants, so act now to get your place. To register or for further information, write to Cecilia Woloch at [email protected] or visit http://www.ceciliawoloch.com
6. “The Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop” with Lori Allen and the AWAI
This summer, spend three fun days with the folks from the American Writers and Artists, Inc. in San Francisco and discover the secrets to traveling the world, potentially for free by getting paid as a travel writer. It true. Lots of writers do it. This is your chance to rub shoulders with some of the best writers and editors in the business and discover first-hand how to turn your traveling into royalties or paychecks, and see the world in a different way than as an ordinary tourist. (If you register by June 24, 2008, you will save $300!) To register for the Ultimate Travel Writer’s Workshop call Terry Frank at (202) 370-6459 EST or toll-free at (866) 415-1425 or email her at: [email protected]
And if you’re not all that interested in learning how to write, but would like to meet the authors and hear som
e of their well-crafted words, be sure to put these readings on your “to-do” list in Paris:
Tonight at 7 p.m. at Shakespeare & Co.: 37, rue de la Bûcherie, 5th, Kathleen Spivack, author of six books of prose and poetry and Fulbright professor in Paris, begins a cycle of festivities to celebrate her new book, “Moments of Past Happiness,” by inviting younger writers whose work she has followed to join her in this reading! Poetry, prose, and music written for Kathleen’s work. For more information, visit http://www.shakespeareco.org
And again on March 25 at 7 p.m. at the Village Voice Bookshop: 6 rue Princesse, 6th, Kathleen presents and reads from her new book, “Moments of Past Happiness” — it’s an opportunity to share an appreciation for the world of letters and friendship…for those who give over their lives and who (still) treasure the written word and who support this journey. For more information visit http://www.villagevoicebookshop.com/
Again at Shakespeare & Co., Monday, March 24th at 7 p.m. Veteran correspondent David Andelman will be reading from his newest book, “A Shattered Peace: Versailles 1919 and the Price We Pay Today.” Andelman offers a compelling new perspective on the origin of many of today’s most critical international issues. He turns the spotlight on the many errors committed by World War I peacemakers that ultimately led to crises from Iraq to Kosovo and wars from the Middle East to Vietnam. He focuses, too, on the small nations and minor players at Versailles, including figures such as Ho Chi Minh and Charles de Gaulle, who would later become boldfaced names. With a cautionary message for us today, he shows how world leaders dismissed repeated warnings from their experts and laid the groundwork for a host of catastrophic events. For more information, visit http://www.shakespeareco.org
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris