Changing Gears

In my blog of January 2016, “The Monster on my Desk,” I talked about the magic of writing. Whether you do it on paper with a pen, on a typewriter, on a computer, or by dictation, the act of creating a written opus is rich with mystery and satisfaction. I hope you have the time to go back and read that blog, especially the comments people left about being driven. What drives you?

Writing drives me. This year, I moved on from full-time college teaching to full-time writing. I’m always puzzled when people ask me if I’m enjoying retirement. I guess, for most people, the verb ‘to retire’ means to no longer work.

But if you’re a writer, you’re always working! Ideas won’t leave my head alone! I’ll go to my grave revising.

But before I ‘change gears’ here — morphing from a p-t ‘everything’ blog to a f-t writer’s blog — I’d like to share with you my most recent adventure.

This past June, my son’s first book (Alone on the Wall, a NYT Bestseller!) launched in several countries in Europe. In Paris, he spoke to a sell-out audience at Paris’ biggest, oldest theater, Le Grand Rex. And he spoke in French this time! (He speaks all over the world, in English with an interpreter.) So of course, Mom had to be there.

So here are some memories from my trip. Enjoy!

First, at le Grand Rex, the biggest movie theater in all of Europe, and the biggest screen in Paris (my son in red, on stage and signing books before the show):









All of Europe experienced major flooding this summer, Paris included. The staircase in this photo, which ends under water, normally leads down to the walkway along the Seine, famed for its lovers, strollers, picnickers, skaters and generally anyone who enjoys life:

Version 2

One of my favorite Arcs de Triomphe (there are many in Paris). This one dominates the Tuileries Gardens. The building to the left is the west end of the Louvre Museum. This is the kind of weather that led to the flooding this June.


The oldest living tree in Paris, planted in 1601 and still going strong — with a little support. You can see one of the towers of Notre Dame Cathedral in the background (across the river).




I didn’t stay in Paris the whole time. During my 44-year teaching career, I taught more French than any of my 4 other languages, so I have lots of friends to visit in France. Here, la Montagne de Reims (Mountain of Reims).



Reims is an ancient city in the heart of Champagne country. These are Champagne vineyards around the Mountain, with its famed windmill visible from miles around the relatively flat region.

Some of the many Champagne houses in the region. In the U.S., we know only the biggest exporters. There are hundreds that we don’t know here.



The village of Milly-la-Forêt, near Fontainebleau (south of Paris), where more of my friends live. If you’re a climber (especially a boulderer), you know the name Fontainebleau, which is a world-wide center of bouldering.) In centuries past, it was the exclusive domain of royalty, the forests of the King.


IMG_4239Milly la Forêt:


After a few weeks seeing friends in France, I flew to Poland to see some Polish friends. I stayed in Gdynia, a small city on the Baltic Sea (the northern boundary of Poland). The tri-city region of Gdynia-Sopot-Gdansk, with its beautiful, extensive white sand beaches, has long been a playground for the rich and the powerful. Amber shops dot the walkways — and fill the cellars (dungeons) of medieval castles:

IMG_4332 IMG_4333 IMG_4401 IMG_4447









I hope you’ve enjoyed this tiny tour of France and Poland.


Scroll down and sign up to keep up with future posts; I promise your info won’t go anywhere.