Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Degas at the Opera



I haven't had a night out in a long while, with my husband's chef duties translating into me having full-time parenting duties. But when I do get the opportunity to go out, I make sure it's something really worthwhile. And this time, it definitely was. 

A friend who is a regular at the Musee d'Orsay knows my daughter and I love ballet, so invited us to go with her to a special evening at the temporary Degas exhibit. The dancers from the Opera de Paris would be there. We knew there would be some sort of performance so we expected to sit in the auditorium and watch. But it was so much more.

In the ballroom, dancers posed like the ones in Degas' paintings and danced, a mix of ballet and modern. Principal dancer Stephane Bullion turned the tables on the audience -- dancing in the auditorium as we stood on the stage.

At the barre, dancers performed a scene right out of one of the artist's paintings:




And the beautiful dancer we saw at first from behind, showed us that... 



sometimes, things aren't exactly as they seem -- but they are just as beautiful:



And throughout the evening, the dancers, one by one, gracefully descended the grand staircase in costume, undressed and left their costumes on the floor, then made their way back up the steps and into the darkness. Until the grand finale, when all costumes left a blanket of color on the ground and the dancers stood proudly, silhouettes of elegance and artistry:
 

As a bit of additional fun, we got to try on costumes used in opera house productions. And of course, attending such a show with a nine-year-old ballet student is particularly great, because for her, it was beyond magical. 

This production only happened on two nights, but if you're in the Paris area, you can still see the special Degas exhibit. They've brought in Degas' works from galleries and private collections around the world. I'm sure I'll stop by again before they pack things up in January. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Some Writing News!



I finally have some fresh writing news for you... Lots of it! First, I've finished a new project and have been (unsuccessfully -- sigh) shopping it around to agents. We'll see what it happens with that, but it definitely isn't stopping me from moving ahead with more writing.

So the other news is I've signed up to Wattpad. If you're not too familiar with it, here's a quick description. It's an online platform where readers can read writers' works for free. And as writers, it offers us the opportunity to connect directly with readers, write short stories for fun contests etc. Not bad, huh?

I wrote The Orange Dress for a Halloween contest, as well as another short story that you can find on my Wattpad page here. It's free to join and free to read most stories on the website. I like seeing the mix of writers there, from newbies developing their craft to greats like Margaret Atwood.

As for my new, so-far rejected project, I'm in the process of considering its future. It just might end up on Wattpad...

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Nine Years Already...


I'm not about to say anything original in this next sentence, just echoing the words of parents probably since the dawn of time, but I still have to say it: How is it possible that nine years have passed since my tiny baby was born? Where has the time gone? (And strangely, why does time seem to stand still when I'm waiting at the post office, the DMV or at the airport? But that's a subject for another post.)

Getting back to today's subject, which is actually about yesterday: Yes, on Sept. 23, my daughter turned nine. We celebrated with chocolate cake and sparklers, and a week earlier when the weather was still warm, had an outdoor party with her friends (I ran the show, and yes, I am still alive, though still recovering.) So, time flies when you're having fun, and I guess that's why these past nine years have gone by quickly. Plenty of laughs and silliness which definitely outweigh the more tiring moments of parenting.

I always say I wish I could keep a copy of my kids at each age, and at that, my husband looks at me like I've lost my mind. True, it would get pretty crowded in our apartment... but I do miss the early days, and at the same time enjoy the now and look forward to the future. Sigh.

Well, right now my own future is getting back to writing. I've finished editing a project and plan on submitting it to a mentoring program called Pitch Wars, am trying out the Wattpad platform, and am gearing up to write something new. It's all about diversification. Or at least that's what I tell myself!

A bientot...

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Back-to-School Routine and the Naming of Babies

Photo courtesy of Surdumihail on Pixabay.


This week has been another week of “adaptation” – but this time, I’m not talking about my son at daycare. I’m talking about me and my schedule. This year, it’s about ferrying my daughter around to school and ballet and theater classes, as well as getting my son back and forth to daycare a few times a week. So much the same as every other parent on the planet! Since my husband is in the middle of a restaurant launch, I’m holding down the fort here at home. I told him that after a few months, he’s going to look relaxed and refreshed and I’m going to look about twenty years older. Ha!

Things should ease up by next week (wishful thinking?) once the routine is in place and I don’t have the little “extras” like running out to buy the new leotard or tap shoes. And as I drag myself around Paris in a hot and sometimes too slow subway, I think of my friends back home in Florida, carting their kids off to track and field practice at 6 a.m. The good thing about Paris is nothing starts that early.

And speaking of Paris, well actually France, I’ll get back to writing about some of the surprising/funny/frustrating etc. things about living here. A friend of mine nudged me to talk about the naming of kids, something I’ve encountered twice. So how about I start with that?

Wind back the clock nine years, and we’re about to have our daughter. Here in France, the name has to be registered at the city hall – and accepted. Sometimes they’ll refuse the spelling, like if you want to spell “Christine” “Krystyne,” it might not make it through. Other times the actual name itself might be rejected. If your last name is “Split” and you want to name your kid “Banana,” you can be pretty sure it’s not going to fly.

Naming has actually has become a lot easier over the past several years. My mother-in-law, who worked at a city hall in France, said they used to be a lot stricter thirty years ago. In any case, my big worry was the middle name I’d chosen: “Jean,” after my dear aunt and godmother. In French, “Jean” is like “John,” and it’s a guy’s name. So I was pretty much ready for a big fight between my husband (who went to the city hall while I was in the maternity ward) and some naming watchdog from the French government. 

As it turned out, my American citizenship saved the day. Since “Jean” is a female name in my country, the French accepted it without a problem! Drama avoided.

As for our son, Orphée, we threw them another American classic for the middle name: John. But that’s a pretty well-known name, so again, drama avoided.

Now, the only naming I’ll be doing is the naming of the characters in my books. And with that, I don’t have to worry about the French government getting involved…

Friday, September 6, 2019

My Week at Daycare



Photo courtesy of Innviertlerin on Pixabay.


It's back to school time here in Paris, and my week has been about getting our daughter, Phedre, settled in a new school and our son, Orphee, "adapted" at daycare. Phedre was skipping off to school as of day one but the situation with Orphee has been a bit different...

Adaptation means I have to bring the little one to daycare, spend time with him there, and each day leave and then come back shortly thereafter. We started off with ten minutes away, then twenty, then thirty-five. And each time, there were many tears as I departed and when I returned. At the beginning, Orphee must have thought "Cool! Mom and I go to daycare every morning and play!" Until I slipped out for a few minutes.

I spoke with a friend who went through this with his son about fifteen years ago, but back then, there was just one drop off, many tears, and somehow, everyone made it through relatively unscathed.

So which system is better? I'm not sure. It is nice to gently get these little ones used to the new environment, yet each day is almost a mini repetition of the first. It's sort of like: When you arrive at the pool and the water is too cold, do you jump right in or inch your way in over a period of ten minutes?

There probably isn't one right way. And it depends on each toddler as well. My daughter was much like her brother. Friends of ours have kids who just strolled right in and didn't shed a tear.

In any case, three weeks from now (hopefully) adaptation will be behind us and Orphee will be having a blast with homemade play-dough, finger paints, and cute little French songs before nap time. And I'll be getting "adapted" to writing every day...

Sunday, September 1, 2019

#BoostMyBio: An Opportunity to Introduce Myself to You!




This post is part of a really cool blog hop called #BoostMyBio, meant for authors to get to know each other prior to a really cool event called PitchWars. More info on the PitchWars program here.

Bonjour fellow authors!

My name is Adria, and I’m a writer of commercial literary fiction and women’s fiction. I’ve been known to add a touch of magical realism because a magical twist is always fun. I love writing stories that are character-driven, involve lives that entwine in surprising ways, and feature a beautiful or interesting setting that makes for a good escape -- for the reader and for me as the writer. Maybe that’s because I love travel so much. And when I don’t have time or money for travel, writing is the best way to do it.

My four self-published books include: Paris, Rue des Martyrs, A Perfumer’s Secret, Paris Jungle and Close to Destiny.

My favorite books include:
Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman, The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, the Harry Potter series (reading with my daughter and we’re on book 4), and The Lover by Maguerite Duras.

Some facts about me:

-I have two children with literary names (and accent marks that I often leave out because of laziness, but I’ll do it right this time). They are: Phèdre and Orphée. First baby was our cat, Lelée, who traded her South Carolina meow for a Parisian one when we moved.

-I’ve lived in Connecticut, South Carolina and Boston, Mass. But I grew up in Florida so call myself Floridian.

-My husband says I’m like Sally in “When Harry Met Sally” because at restaurants I always order sauces “on the side” or want my order composed my way.

-My favorite Broadway shows are the old classics “Cats!” and “Phantom of the Opera.”

-I love to dance and take classes in the Horton Technique, made famous by choreographer Alvin Ailey.

-The best meal in town is at my chef husband’s restaurant Plein Ouest and the worst meal in town is probably at our house because I’m cooking!

-In spite of my mediocre culinary skills, I am quite a foodie and love the wonderful bread, cheese and fresh, quality products here in France. And of course, bring on dessert, and if it’s chocolate I’ll have two.



-So that leads to me where I live: Paris, France. I began studying French at age 12, married a Frenchman, and after living together in the U.S. we decided to give Paris a try. That was more than a decade ago.




My project for PitchWars:

A mainstream/commercial literary novel of love, ambition, and the idea of choice – set on France’s beautiful Ile de Ré. (The photo at the top of this post was taken on the island.) 

Thanks for stopping by my blog to learn more about me and my projects. I’m eager to visit the blogs of other participants and learn about everyone’s exciting work!


Tuesday, August 27, 2019

This is My Quiche


This is my quiche. It might not seem like a big deal to produce this baby, especially for someone who lives in France. But, after many years of relying on my chef husband to cook or relying on the lovely French frozen food store "Picard" to provide our meals -- and after many years fleeing any sort of food preparation --  I've decided to take over the kitchen. 

I carefully noted down my husband's instructions and voila! My creation might not be gorgeous, but it passed our eight-year-old daughter's taste test. And mine too. After a lot of time fearing that zone known as the kitchen, I now kind of look forward to planning something decent for our evening meal.

My prior kitchen phobia comes from what I call "Italian American backlash." In my family, the women cooked. It was "women's work." (Do you hear teenage me gagging yet?) That was why I decided I would never do it. I would be the liberated woman of the family and I would not do what was "expected" of me.

So my husband learned my mom's recipes and my grandma's recipes and little by little, after years of living with this amazing cook, I realized that cuisine doesn't have a gender. Today, it isn't about obligation like it was when my grandparents were young in their Italian American community. Today, we have a choice.

I have a choice.

I'm cooking when I want to, how I want to. And when the kids and I want to really eat well, you can find us at the restaurant where our favorite chef is cooking...