Sunday, July 6, 2008

Feelin’ alright...

To get you in the mood... an excellent rendition of one of my most favorite songs by Dave Mason. [YouTube has since taken it down! 20 Aug 2008. Here's Joe Cocker's rendition.]

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was contacted by a publisher in New York to review a book... "Petite Anglaise" arrived via FedEx practically on the day it was released in the US. I finished reading it on Friday and I have been thinking about how to write this review.

First, my ground rules. I had not heard of Petite Anglaise (henceforth to be known as PA), nor her blog before I got the book. I did not go to her site until after I finished reading the book. I took notes as I read the book and I have a few questions myself, but I'll give you my honest opinion first. PA's blog gets mega hits per month and mega comments to every stroke of the keyboard. If I had that volume of readership, I'd quit my day job... (wait, I already did! ... merde!).

Seriously. As an expat living in Paris since 1992, I can say we all come here for different reasons. Hers was a lifelong dream. Mine was happenstance. We're both still here... there's just something about Paris. We came here at about the same time. She was a college student, I was married with an infant. She's a Brit, I'm American. My son was born in the US. She had "Tadpole" in Paris during the summer of the canicule (the heatwave, 2003). I remodeled my kitchen and bathroom that summer. Anyone who has been through remodeling can understand that it is the equivalent of childbirth. Anyone who lived through the canicule in Paris, will agree with me... DRUG ME NOW!

PA's book was mostly a synopsis of her blog, so the story line needed to follow. She takes us through the beginning moments of her blog, the meeting of "Lover" and the breakup with "Mr. Frog" (the father of her daughter, "Tadpole"), and then, the eventual breakup with "Lover"... She ends on a positive note by purchasing her own apartment in Paris and looking forward to life as a single mother. Something I know a lot about.

On page 172 she said, "write what you want when you have something to say". I can relate to that and have given myself the freedom of not feeling like I have to post here everyday. She poured her heart into her writing and it obviously paid off.

But PA put herself out there like I never would. As she said back then, she blogged "as a persona". She spilled her guts when life sucked and she shared her happiness when it didn't. She detailed events in her life along with her feelings. The people around her, although never named, didn't always seem too happy to have their histoire out on the net... and she acknowledges that. She even questions pushing the publish button on some occasions.

She didn't have her name on her site until after she was "dooced". (Yes, I learned a few expressions along the way... although this was not included in the book. I had to go back in her archives about two years because the book leaves off in the summer of 2006.) She has an intimate relationship with her readership and sometimes used her blog to send someone "an open letter hoping for some response". But that's how she started out. More power to her. Here's a link to her blog, Petite Anglaise. You can order her book online, details on her site.

A few things I learned... there are Parisian Blogger Soirées... I'd be interested in attending one. It would be nice to get to know some of the other blogging folks out there. I may already know some of you! She gave Meetic a try. This bit is on the blog. At least her experience had a happy ending... mine ended up with a restraining order. She mentions a good organization that I wish I knew of a few months ago... Check it out. If you are moving and/or have good stuff that you don't want to put on the sidewalk, sign up and post it... Someone will come and take it off your hands *pronto* and give it a good home.

Follow your passion, and success will follow you.
~Arthur Buddhold

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