I can’t even speak English properly, I’m so pooped! We partied hard with lots of crazy drunk French people last night. We had a blast dancing, singing, carrying on. The band dedicated “Sympathy for the Devil” to me. The Dark Princess of Paris reigns!
Thank you everyone who said so many sweet things about our photos! The Embassy party was beautiful. The American Embassy itself looks like shades of Versailles within. Incredible ceiling paintings, gold trim on the doors, the walls, the mirrors. One can see The Louvre dome from the balcony of the back part of the reception hall. We drank champagne, ate hors d’oeuvres from silver platters offered by stiff French waiters who gave a small bow if you declined the offered contents. The Ambassador bailed on us. Someone else came in his stead who had a longer title and what sounded like a lower station, but I don’t recall who it was. The speeches were long and in French. I listened a little before I made my way back to the back area and sat, where I had a really nice discussion with a lady from Los Angeles as we rested our sore feet.
But later, as I was mouthing off about something or other to the incredibly lovely Vice Consul, a really sweet lady named Norma Szokolyai approached me. She’s a poet and performance artist. She mentioned that Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer Kathleen Spivack was giving a writing workshop on Saturday here in Paris and asked if that was something I was interested in. (Kathleen doesn’t have a website, but Amazon has a few of her poetry collections.) It turns out Kathleen had already been turning away people, but thanks to Norma’s call vouching for me and me also calling her (I found her phone number on the Web), I managed to secure a spot in the workshop.
I have to say, one would be hard pressed to find such a collection of writers in L.A. There were people who had written books for the United Nations, an expat from India who spoke six languages, people who worked for foreign governments in human rights (including UNESCO). There was some wonderful writing and interesting insights about making stylistic choices. I realized that I make a lot of stylistic choices from my gut. I really appreciate Kathleen’s approach to teaching and coaching, too. She went through our writing samples and chose passages that were good examples of what she was trying to express. Even if there was a flaw, she was so articulate and politic that I never felt like someone was being criticized, only corrected. And she very graciously solicited my writing experience, as I’d probably had more published work than most of the people there.
For the workshop, I gave Kathleen my Nerve.com article about my crazy religious upbringing and Darth Vader as my sexual awakening. It seemed to delight her, and she urged me to write for the big print magazines, like The New Yorker. She agreed that the online literary world was a thing in and of itself, and great to pursue, but that the print world was calling. Like my agent, she pressed me to write more humor. A lot more humor.
Okie! I’m a-writin’ as fastest I can!
We did more, but I’m too tired to recount it. Party on.