The fabulous Eloisa James is with us today from Paris, and we are thrilled to have her here during the holidays. She’s talking about being a wife, mother, daughter-in-law, and writer, and how precious these fleeting moments are, whether they’re what we planned for or not.
Please help us welcome . . . Eloisa James!
Intellectuals have always flocked to Paris. Hemingway ripped out his novels here; Gertrude Stein wrote hundreds of page here; David Sedaris (to jump from the ridiculous to the sublime) had a ball embarrassing himself in Paris and then writing about it.
When my husband and I decided to spend a sabbatical year from our respective universities in Paris, I confidently sketched out four books I planned to write: an academic book about drama in 1607, a couple of romances, and a historical novel. (Cue the sound of hollow laughter.)
Not only have the four books not materialized, but I don’t even qualify for this blog: dump the Writer, cue the Mama. I’ve discovered an interesting fact about life: if you don’t write every day, no writing gets done. I always suspected this was the truth but having grown up in a family of writers without a television, I never really had a chance to test it out.
These days I specialize in creations with little shelf life and no paycheck. Yesterday my Italian mother-in-law took a few hours to teach me how to make stock from the remains of the Christmas goose. It was a fine lesson, but I will admit to a chill of dismay when the stock-turned-soup had disappeared ten minutes after reaching the table. Eleven-year-old Anna, fifteen-year-old Luca and I settled down in the afternoon to make Thank You cards. Hallmark has nothing to fear; no one but a parent could treasure these glittery, sticky creations. The only writing I do is on Facebook, where I’m creating something of an on-line diary of our Parisian adventures. As the day passes, my little entries fall off the page, relegated to “Older Posts.” It’s the writer’s equivalent of broth: shape it, create, it, watch it disappear.
The possibility of four books is quickly evaporating, but I’ve learned a valuable lesson. I’ve learned to grab the unexpected, to treasure quiet moments – those that have no obvious return, no printed word, no paycheck, no audience.
What about you? What’s a moment you experienced lately that reminded you that life outside of writing is precious — even as it seems to leave no trace?
Three participants will receive a glittery silly souvenir from Paris, because Eloisa may not be writing, but she certainly is shopping! Please do join her on Facebook for a glimpse of la vie Parisienne… www.facebook.com/EloisaJamesFans.