"It was not until I got my first 'Big Girl' camera
that I stumbled across a way
to make my Parisian dreams come true."
- Temple Tsenes-Hills
Bonjour mes amies!
It's been nearly three months since I returned from my beloved Paris, and I have only published one post about my adventures - s'il vous plait pardonnez-moi! But as I said, when I first returned, Mamma-hood takes precedence. But I'm also proud and pleased to say that my long Paris-posting delay is also a result of vigorous jewelry sales and a few deadlines for Belle Inspiration - yay!
Mr. Gorgeous, Coco and I had a few grand adventures, during our too short trip, it was pretty difficult to chose which one to share next. I cherish every moment in 'my' city, every adventure is a grand one indeed. But one adventure was truly a dream upon a dream come true. So grab a flute of bubbly, or pour a demitasse of presse fransaise (depending on your time zone. But then, when it comes to champagne, I've never given a hoot about time zones! ;-}
Mr. Gorgeous working the room...
"The best laid schemes of Mice and Men oft go awry
and leave us nothing but grief and pain, for promised joy!"
- To A Mouse, Robert Burns, 1785
In 2000, while planning a trip, I read a tantalizing blurb in Great Eats/Sleeps Paris about Patricia Laplante Collins - a Black woman living in Paris who, once a week, opens her home to the public for a soiree. I was planning to go then but sadly did not. I thought that I'd attend in the following year. See the above quote about the best laid plans... I did not get an opportunity to attend 'til nearly 4 years later (for the backstory see here). At Particia's soiree I met the most amazing interesting people. Every soiree is unusual, fun, friendly and often poignant. But the best result of that first meeting was that Patricia and I became fast friends. Since then, everytime I return to Paris, I attend a soiree and Patricia and I manage to steal away for dinner or three.
Soon after my October 2011 visit, Patricia contacted me and asked if I would like to be the featured speaker at one of her soiree (in May). The theme: 'Why I Love Paris in the Springtime.' Patricia wanted me to create a presentation and lecture around my Paris photography. I was so honored and excited! You know that I said yes! Then the planning and fretting began in earnest. On a beautiful May afternoon Mr. Gorgeous and I arrived at the soiree. I was literally shaking in my 5" wedge heels as I stepped out of the taxi!
Restaurant Himalaya Tibet
31 rue Saint-Jacques, 5th er
As I stepped out of the taxi and got my first good look at the restaurant's facade, I knew that I was in for another one of Patricia's uniquely flavored Parisian adventures. And the inside of this place...
This place looks like a box of Crayons exploded! Love it!
Thankfully, Peter and I were the first to arrive - the restaurant was completely empty. I had a few minutes to check my face, catch my breath and collect my thoughts. About 15 minutes later, the attendees began to arrive (about 30 in all)...
After 30 minutes or so of meet, greet, and drink it was time to begin
Patricia always begins her soirees' speaker section by going around the room, introducing each person: their names, where they're from, what they do - and she does it all from memory.
I spoke for about 20 minutes. And while I carefully prepared, I can honestly say that I don't remember much of what I said - I was so nervous - maybe I'll ask Mr. Gorgeous write an addendum to this post ;-} But the general gist of my 'lecture' traced my earliest introduction to Paris (love at first sight, sip, and nibble), my long unrequited desire to return as often as possible and, once I did, how I began to photograph the city.
It was wonderful and heartening to see how many heads often nodded in agreement - especially when I spoke of my joy of not only being able to return often, but to actually have the space and time to wander and discover this magical city.
But my most nerve-racking moment came when I began to pass around my photographs and a few of my bracelets. It was the first time that I was able to get real time reactions and comments from people about my photography. And these were my peers - people also who love Paris in a highly personal soul searing way. And often the hope, dreams, fantasies, and passion that this city evokes are so powerful, yet so amorphous, that often we cannot find the words. Some write songs, others poems or books. And of course they write several, always trying to find the perfect words, the perfect melody.
My chosen mode is photography. For me it visually captures the words, melody and emotions that Paris evokes in me. It's powerful, personal and sensitive. And sharing my images is like standing in front of a room full of people...naked!
I'm relieved and pleased to say that the response was uniformly and overwhelmingly positive. And while I spent 20 minutes speaking, I answered questions for nearly 40 minutes! We finally had to end because dinner was waiting - though I continued to answer questions throughout dinner.
All in all, Patricia was very pleased - which was my ultimate goal. And Mr. Gorgeous and I had our usual great time. Patricia has asked me to speak again when I return. I said yes, bien sur! I've taken hundreds of photos of my city since then. I've no idea which ones I'll choose, or what I'll say but I can't wait! I'll give you the date when I get it and I hope to see you there ;-}
Vivre! Rire! Aimer!