Wednesday, May 8, 2013

This is my fifth time in Paris. One time it was for three weeks. The shortest was for less than 24 hours. I've known for a long time that I wanted to come back for a longer stretch. I read Eric Maisel's A Writer's Paris seven years ago. I've been planning ever since! Maisel predicts that, once one announces one's intention to head to Paris to write, people will come out of the woodwork to talk you out of it. The only one to do that was my mother.

My mother

She was worried about my father - who turns 90 this week - and she wanted me nearby. I told her that I didn't want to undertake such a long trip alone when I was much older than I am (I turn 65 in June). This makes a perfect 65th birthday present to myself. And she just didn't understand why I would want to do it. And particularly alone. Of course, lots of people don't like to spend long periods alone (I actually won't be here alone for another week). I do (though I've never done it for this long).

My mother was a brilliant and talented woman who spent her life NOT doing what she wanted to do. And she always blamed it on someone or something else - whether it was my father or a misogynist society (she was a very early feminist). I have always vowed that I would not let that happen to me. So it is a balancing act - how much you consider the feelings and opinions of others and how much you do what you want.

I've always wondered how much of my mother's NOT doing was out of fear. I'll never know. That was the kind of question that could throw her into a rage. But I do use that notion as a guide to try to do things about which I'm not very confident - nothing too extreme, I'm not trying skydiving. But I always knew that what would make me saddest when she died would be the things she didn't do.

My mother died unexpectedly (she wasn't in good health and she was 87, but nothing seemed life-threatening) three weeks before I left. She won't have to worry about my father while I'm gone - though now I have to worry about my daughter who is in Santa Rosa watching out for him. Though she was increasingly difficult to talk to during the past few years, I will really miss not telling her about the trip. As negative as she was about it, I know she'd have loved hearing about it.

She has disapproved of a number of things I've done in my life. I've thought that was mostly because I was daring to do what I wanted to do instead of what she and my father wanted me to do. I tend to bend too far the other way with my kids and almost never give them advice (I get complaints about that).

The view from my computer

So I'm going to spend time at this computer and find out if I'm a writer (now that is scary!). Though this blog will be mostly about the touristy part of the trip, but who knows. And I really wish my mother were around to read it.

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