Jun 29, 2010

Same Me, New Place

The great Dr. B pointed out a few weeks ago that moving house was a great way to dis-organise, and then re-organise your life, doing a little sorting, fixer-upping and repackaging in the process.

He was not wrong.

The last two weeks have been a complete mess.  Nothing was in its place, be it in my living room or in that slightly pokier place also know as my brain.  And I can tell you, living in a state of dissaray like that is exhausting.

But now, little pieces of my life are coming back together, and I find myself appreciating them in a new, simpler way (if I'm sounding like Laura Bloody Ingalls I apologise).

First:  The internet, and associated television access.  Look!  Email!  News!  Evidence of the outside world! (and the odd realization that I didn't actually miss facebook...)

Second:  A nice, comfortable, uncluttered room to sit in.  Peaceful walls painted by yours truly (and Mommy Res).  Furniture that isn't covered in cardboard boxes or DIY materials or Pisa towers of books.  Sunlight streaming in through windows that are both framed in curtains instead of ladders.

Third:  Joining the gym.  So I can start feeling guilty again about not going.

Fourth:  Having nothing more strenuous to do over the next couple days than planning a date.  And enjoying dating again just because it's fun, and not because I'm in a rush to meet "The One" before my eggs shrivel up like yesterday's Benedicts.  OK, so moving didn't actually make me younger, but I do feel like it's hiked me up a notch on the zen-ladder.  I mean, I have grey walls.  How fabulously zen is that?!

And this great wave of chilling-out-itude is bound to get me back into the swing of things book-wise.  For sure.

In the meantime, I'm off to London!

Jun 21, 2010

Five Second Connection

I have moved (yay! hello again, Paris!).

As a result, I have spent the last three days splattered in paint and surrounded by enough cardboard and bubble wrap to make a pretty cool fort.

I am also sans internet connectivity.  Which means no TV, no email, no checking the NY Times, and no blogging.  This is actually the first time in three days that I've taken a peak at the outside world (thanks to Le Pain Quotidien's free wifi and 4-euro sinful brownie) - and I only had 20 minutes of battery life.

Gasp.

So please be patient over the next few days as Res goes radio silent again.  I promise you an extra-exciting post when I return.  Even if I have to make up the excitement.

Jun 17, 2010

Gute Laune*

Tomorrow's moving day and I'm in a strangely good mood.

I say strangely because I haven't been accustomed to good moods lately.  And also because I hate moving (I tried to count how many times I've moved house in my life, and I lost track somewhere in the 20-30 range.  You would think I'd have grown to enjoy hauling my possessions around by now.)

But still, I'm getting all sorts of positive vibes as I sit here and type.  First, because the boxes are finally all stuffed and sealed.  Second, because I'm coming back to my beloved city (twenty kilometres away might not seem like much to you, but it's an ocean for a city girl like yours truly.)  Third, because I'm watching France-Mexico with the girls tonight.  And generally, because life is sweet like a yellow pepper.

Wait, what?  Where did the yellow pepper thing come from?

Not to worry, that's just me trying out an awkward but oh-so-poetic transition to this great shot by Mr. Res Sr.  (aka Daddy).  This photo just puts me in a good mood.  Look at that little yellow pepper there, in with his species yet distinctly out of place (I've named him Res Pepper.)  I'm thinking of getting this photo framed and putting it up in my spanking new kitchen.


*because there's no reason why I shouldn't throw in a German title when the mood strikes

Jun 15, 2010

A Little How-To

Those of you who checked today's NY Times just knew I was going to post this.

And how could I not?  Advice for the budding novelist?!  Eager like the metaphorical beaver (and with only slightly better teeth), I clicked away to find...

(image courtesy of 826 National)

And that made my day.  Because there's only one thing I like better than useful advice, and that's pointlessly witty humour.

For those of you (like me) who can't read type that small, the poster encourages writers to check whether they have included all the essentials like plot, dialogue, protagonist and dinosaurs in their novel.  Bonus points are awarded for vampires. (Oddly, international arbitration lawyers are not a prerequisite character type).

But while the poster is just a bit of fun, I did find a grating ring of truth to the final paragraph of the Times' write-up:
First, “it’s reassuring,” as Alarc√≥n writes, “to be reminded that everyone works differently, that there is no single way to arrive at your destination, that, in fact, your destination is necessarily a very different place from anyone else’s.” And second, it is perfectly fine to take a break, to scan and scroll, to seek succor in a poster or an essay, a book of quotations from celebrated authors or a trifling little blog post, but if you want to write, the first advice must always be: write.
Right.  Better get back on that horse soon.

Jun 13, 2010

Weren't you writing a novel?

You're probably wondering what's happened to the book.

Or maybe you're not, because frankly you have better things to do, but for the sake of argument, let's pretend that you are.

Well, the answer is, not a heck of a lot.  I'm not a big fan of taking too much responsibility for my failures, so I blame it on the move (do you have any idea how much crap I have to try to squeeze into boxes?!)

The plan was to read the book from start to finish and jot down a few notes on how to make it better.  I've gotten through a bit more than half so far, and most of my notes read like this:
- "No!"
- "Delete"
- "Gag"
- "What was I thinking?"

It's heaps of fun and great for my self-esteem - a bit like stabbing myself repeatedly with a spork.

My biggest problem is that my voice/style/tone - whatever you want to call it - changed about one third into the book.  Clearly, when I started out, I was very intimidated by the prospect of writing a novel (a Novel!) and decided this was Serious Stuff and there could be no dicking around like there is on the blog.

As a result, the beginning of the book is Awful. 

Fortunately, I appear to have gotten over myself about six chapters in and the rest is terrible for other, possibly more manageable reasons.  But what do I do with the beginning?  Throw it out and start again?  Work with what I have?

Since I don't have an answer to that question, I'm filling up cardboard boxes with junk instead.

Jun 12, 2010

Score

In World Cup football, women rule.

What, you don't believe me?  I thought I'd taught you never to disagree with a litigator...

Here's the proof.  Yesterday I call a fine beer-drinking establishment of central Paris to book a table for the France-Uruguay game (the opening salvo for the much-maligned Blues).  There's little hope, I think to myself, the game starts in four hours.  But lo and behold, a table is procured.

When Miss Hermes and I arrive at the said establishment, it turns out we have the best seat in the house.  Our own private television, a table by the open window, and a waiter who will bend over backwards (often over the bodies of sweaty football fans) to indulge our every whim (beer-related, that is).

Add to that the shy but indubitably flirtatious glances and smiles showered upon us as the Blues fail, yet again, to score a goal, and you'll have to agree, I was right.

During World Cup madness, it pays to be a woman.

At least it's better than being Nicolas Anelka (pardon the French football joke - it won't happen again.)

PS: What do you think of my new template?  Pretty spiffy, eh?!

Jun 8, 2010

Number 2

Let's take a break from the whinging and wailing, shall we, and enjoy instead the fact that Paris is wonderful.  And that in only ten short days, I will be moving back, to my own place, with my own set of keys, my own fridge, my own TV and comfy sofa, bref, my own chez moi.

Now you're thinking: "but where will Res go?"  Being loyal blog readers (thank you, by the way), you remember how much I loved my neighbourhood, the gays, the Pompidou, Diana the dog.  Well, do not fret, gentle souls, because I'm not moving far!

Only a few block over, actually, but into a brand new arrondissement.  I will now be a proud citizen of the second arrondissement of Paris.  Sadly (or happily, depending on how much you like having tourists taking pictures of your house on Sunday morning when you've just woken up and you're opening the window in that stretched-out T-shirt you use as pajamas), this is a mightily overlooked little corner of the world.  In fact, I'm betting you don't know much about it.

There are two ways we can solve that, though.  One, you can keep reading Res Ipsa's Paris for more info on local spots (I promise, once I move back, I will get much better at updating).  Two (and these are not mutually exclusive), you can read this great post from Hidden Kitchen blogger and chef Braden Perkins.  And then, come visit!

Wait until I've unpacked the boxes, though.

Jun 7, 2010

Perdu

I lost my funny.

I know I left it around here somewhere.  But then I went off and had a freak-out and now I can't find it.

Have you seen my funny?  It's small and round and answers to Bob.

Reward offered for its return.

The Late Show

I'm having one of those nights where I can't go to bed.

You know the ones.  When there's all this stuff simmering at the bottom of your brain and you just know that as soon as you crawl in under the sheets everything will boil over and that'll be the end.  For hours and hours, you'll be sucked into that turmoil of questions, from the sticky life-level ones ("Why can't I find a job?";  "Why can't I decide what country I should live in?";  "Why am I single?") to the self-pity ones ("Why don't any of my clothes look good on me?"; "Why am I not blonde?"; "Why can't I have another pair of Louboutins?") via the mundane anxiety-inducing ones ("Why didn't I write today?"  "Why am I too chicken-shit to call France Telecom and sort out my internet?")

To avoid this plight, the trick is to stay up.  And do pointless things to keep your mind occupied.  You can calculate the average number of words in the book titles on your shelf (but careful, this one might raise the "Why am I so crap I can't even find a decent book title?" question.)  Or you can leaf through the Breakfast Lunch Tea cookbook from Rose Bakery (as long as it doesn't lead to "Why did I never learn how to cook so I could actually have a boyfriend?")  Or watch The Hurt Locker (relatively harmless unless you're prone to "Why does my life have no purpose?" interrogations.)

It's a mine field out there.

I almost understand now why some people resort to stashing bottles of vodka under their beds.

Jun 6, 2010

Don't Know Just What To Do With Myself

My life is good.  Really.  Much better than most.  Jetting off to weddings in Cairo, spending time in London and New York almost whenever I want, enjoying dinners, concerts, theatre with friends - seriously, I can't complain.

Let me rephrase that.

I shouldn't complain.

That doesn't mean I can't.

Today is not so much a rant day as an existential crisis day.  Think of it as throwing a methaphorical bottle into the metaphorical webby ocean to see if there's an answer out there.  Somewhere.

Here's the question:  "What the bejeezus am I supposed to do now?"  (notice the quaint use of swear words - this blog is kid-friendly).

Seriously, though.  I'm feeling a bit lost.  The book - well, nothing much is happening with the book.  Eventually it will be finished.  And then I will need a job.  Preferably one I enjoy.  One that allows me some time for sleep, exercise, and a social life.  One that doesn't make me so miserable I have to quit after a year.  One that my CV can be creatively tailored for without resorting to outright lies.

So where is that job?

Is it in Paris?  Because it really doesn't feel like it right now.  Which is a slight problem seeing as I just bought a flat here (ah, yes, I forgot to mention.  More on that another day).

And what do I about the fact that I miss my friends who all live far away, and half of my friends here seem to be headed in the same direction?

[INSERT LOUD PLAINTIVE KEENING]

If you have a solution to my crisis, please send replies to Res @ selfpity dot com.

Thanks.  I feel much better now.