Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ma Rêve (My Dream)

Les Deux Magots, 6 place Saint-Germain-des-Prés

Since I was a child, I've dreamed of going to France. Notice I didn't say "visiting" or "taking a vacation to" France. No, I really and truly mean going to. It's my goal, my wish, ma rêve.

I can recall studying while I babysat for a family in Mill Valley (where I spent two years at Tamalpais High School). Working hard, I promised myself that my ultimate reward would be working as a lawyer and having a gorgeous corner office in Paris. But I am a writer and knitting designer, and don't want to be a lawyer anymore.

Studying French from junior high school in the San Francisco Bay Area through college at University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, I became as close to fluent as is possible without actually living amongst French-speaking people. Meanwhile, as I explored and reveled in the intricacies of the language, I also immersed myself in French culture, literature, art (Watteau, Renoir and Dufy), and music (Piaf and so much more!).

Later in my life, I could see myself as an old woman, living in a Paris apartment with tall shuttered windows looking over a little cobble-stoned courtyard. Sun would stream through them in the morning, and I could look out over some shade trees.

I'd have some sweet French-speaking kitties, of course, and would be a famous writer. I would live alone (treasuring solitude), write every day, go to lovely cafes and watch people strolling by, meet with my publishers and editors, and mingle with the literati at modern-day salons.

Chez Julien on Rue des Barres (close to Church Saint-Gervais)

Well, my life has once again adjusted itself, offering me the possibility to make my dream come true. I've yet to achieve the level of fame I dreamt of, but I'm working on that. I have time alone, and will have more of it in the near future. I also have time to find my little apartment, to figure out a way to move to Paris, to live there, to work there, and to navigate the mountains of bureaucratic red-tape for which France is famous.

Funny how life throws you a curve ball now and then. You don't see it coming. Maybe the pitch hits you and you double over in agony. But then you say: "Enough!" You stand straight again, you eye the pitcher, and you wait for the perfect fast ball to sail over the plate. You work the count, and then there it is. You swing, the ball sails toward the center field fences... (Have you had enough of my baseball analogy yet?)

Paris, to me, represents beauty, mystery, and opportunity. Perhaps some people see my plan as escapism. As "immature." What they don't understand, though, is that this has been a life-long determination, born of some inner knowledge -- instinct, if you will -- which, for me, makes going to Paris a "running toward," rather than "running away."

After all, what's "running away" about intending to live alone, to spend time with myself, to use solitude to get on with my life's work, writing. No, this is more than just a pie-in-the-sky fantasy. I am facing my future as I've always seen it, not seeking an easy way out. And that's why I will do this. And that's why it will work.

je vous souhaites le tricotage heureux!

(Translation: I wish you happy knitting!)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How exciting! Good luck!