SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY: Memory lane…

When recently WordPress reminded me that this, my second blog, had reached its ninth anniversary, I decided not to re-post the original post but to share once again a place that is special to me.


Upon arriving in Paris, many are drawn to such destinations as The Eiffel Tower, Cathedral Notre Dame, La Louvre or one of many other Parisian landmarks. However, when I first arrived in Paris my first stop was to a landmark English Book Store in the Latin Quarter.

Located across the Seine from Cathedral Notre Dame, this haven for readers and writers is a living legend. The focus of this bookstore is English-language literature. It has served as not only inspiration but also home to writers for decades. In its current incarnation, it honors the past and the work of the original owner, Sylvia Beach. Miss Beach was responsible for publishing authors who had previously been unsuccessful in their attempts to be in print such as James Joyce. The advent of WWII closed the doors of the original Shakespeare & Company begun by Miss Beach. Miss Beach managed to keep the bookstore open through 1941 and the fall of Paris. However, the war had taken its toll.

After the war, American, George Whitman was not eager to return immediately. Instead, he enrolled in French classes at the Sorbonne. He amassed a large collection of books and his apartment became a lending library. After discussions with a friend, he found an apartment in the location where the bookstore still stands and turned that into a bookstore library. He used the name Shakespeare and Company in honor of Miss Beach and all that she had achieved.

There is a sign that you will see when you enter the shop that sums up George’s philosophy in life. “Be not inhospitable to strangers least they be angels in disguise.” George Whitman took in many hungry writers and shared his home and his life. There were beds among the books and often pancakes with George himself. His story is truly amazing and bears future reading.  The list of authors who have received inspiration and support at Shakespeare and Company is like reading a list of who’s who in the literary world for the past century. George and his daughter continue to support writers. Visiting authors, late night poetry readings are just some of the delights that are waiting for you.

In his novel, Time Was Soft There, Canadian journalist Jeremy Mercer chronicles his time living and working in the bookstore. It is food for any reader or writer’s soul. Unless the copy you find, of Jeremy’s book, is as old as mine, the re-printed edition is under a different title, Books, Baugettes, and Bedbugs. When you are planning that trip to Paris, put it on your list of musts.

This writer was thrilled when the shop took a few of my first poetry chapbooks on consignment and still have the receipt as a treasured souvenir of my first trip to France. I look forward to returning to Paris and to Shakespeare & Company. Fortunately, this time I won’t have to worry about buying more books than will fit in my suitcase…

Sadly, shortly after the original posting of this article, George Whitman traded the flesh and literally became one of those angels. His daughter continues her father’s work and I encourage everyone to check out the website put together by George’s daughter, Sophie, and the group who has banded to support the ideals that George and Sylvia Beach shared. https://friendsofshakespeareandcompany.com/

Company.

Bisous,

Léa

#BookReview of WRITEDOWN by Margaret Elphinstone et al #Lockdown #Galloway #Scotland #RBRT

I’m only a few pages into my copy and already recommending it to friends and family. And, I haven’t even read any of Mary Smith’s words yet… I love the whole idea and hope that others will pick up the gauntlet in their communities.

Barb Taub

In my last post here, I talked about the ‘forgotten’ flu pandemic of 1918. The coronavirus seems an overwhelming force across the globe, and I wonder what its legacy will be. After reading the incredible new group lockdown diary, Writedown, one thing I’m sure of is that this pandemic will live in our collective memory. 

One of the contributors to Writedown is also one of my favorite writers, Mary Smith. (If you haven’t had a chance to read her incredible Afghan adventure serial diary, give yourself a treat and start with this one, take a look at some of her funny and heart-tugging books here, her blog series My Dad is a Goldfish about caring for her father with dementia, or most recently her ongoing cancer journey.

I invited Mary to describe the Writedown project, and here’s what she shared.


Author Mary Smith, one…

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Affair with Hemingway

“I didn’t want to kiss you goodbye – that was the trouble – I wanted to kiss you good night – and there’s a lot of difference.”  –  Ernest Hemingway

“They love me like a pack of wolves.”   – Ernest Hemingway

“Love is forever. Lust is for the moment. Got a moment?” –  Michael Gorman

 

Affair with Hemingway

 

Remote corners du café

Closerie des Lilas

Summer evenings beneath stars

Sidewalk tables and stories

Late at night – mon chambre

I take you to my bed

Crawl deep inside your stories

I have my way with you

You reach out through time

Together, we do Paris

Huddled in corners

Sipping wine and champagne

Dark Smokey tables shared

Avec Fitzgerald, Ezra et

Ford Madox Ford

War stories, the bulls

Nights at Bricktops

Josephine’s rocking the joint

Gertrude’s salon

Champagne et art du jour

Picasso, Modigliani

Breathless with anticipation

I surrender and plead for more

It is the life – it is life

Bereft, insatiable, pleading for more

C’est magnifique!

 

Bisous,

Léa

How To Be A Bestselling Author in 3 Days or Less — Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Originally posted on yadadarcyyada: There’s a lot of noise out there about how to write a bestseller. Why don’t we break it down. Let’s simplify the process and get you to bestseller status in 3 days or less! 1. Write a book. Use as many words as you think you need. Plots are plots (it’s…

via How To Be A Bestselling Author in 3 Days or Less — Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Forget the Muse

The best cure for Writer’s Block is to write. Stephen King’s book on writing is one of my favorites. Also, Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg and Bird By Bird by Ann Lamott. Muscles atrophy when we don’t use them so it only stands to reason that writing does not improve without practice, daily.

A Writer's Path

by Michael Mohr

Today I wanted to talk about the process and act of writing. What I mean by that is the simple craft of regularly putting pen to paper. As Stephen King famously said, “Amateurs wait for the muse to come. The rest of us get working.” That is so incredibly true. When I was a creative writing undergrad at San Francisco State University, like many young [writing] students, I thought that, when the ‘muse’ came, I could then write the Great American Novel.

The truth is—any professional can affirm this—and I hate to break your heart here: There is no muse. The muse is like Santa Clause; it’s a hoax that we tell beginners to try and inspire them. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. But at some point, if you take yourself seriously as a writer, you will have to let go of the Santa Clause…

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10 Popular Misconceptions About Writers — Jessie Bingham

People thinks and say such silly things sometimes, we’re all guilty of it. But here are ten common misconceptions the rest of the world has about writers.

via 10 Popular Misconceptions About Writers — Jessie Bingham

What It Takes To Be A Serious Writer — Have We Had Help?

In the good old bad old days, wrongly or rightly, writers were shielded by their agents and publishers from their reading public to maintain an air of mystery, and to shield them from the more repugnant elements of society, among other things. These days since the internet became reality, it has become a necessary tool […]

via What It Takes To Be A Serious Writer — Have We Had Help?

If We Were Having Coffee & Talking About Writing… #SundayBlogShare #AmWriting — BlondeWriteMore

Bit of a mixed bag this week, so I thought I would imagine us having a coffee and talking about writing. Obviously I would ask you how your writing is going first, before launching into a lengthy account (complete with hand actions, dramatic hair flicks and eye rolls) about how I am doing creatively. Here’s […]

via If We Were Having Coffee & Talking About Writing… #SundayBlogShare #AmWriting — BlondeWriteMore

How To Get Feedback On Your Writing

Writing Investigations

Most of us write to connect – and one of the best ways of getting connection is through asking people for feedback. Little gremlins can put us off this though. The ‘it’s not perfect yet’ gremlin, and the ‘they might reject me personally’ gremlin tend to have extra-loud voices.

Here are some sites you can get feedback from: scribophile and a list of 39 other places thewritelife.com: find a critique partner I can’t vouch for any of these, but someone whose work I know and like is on Scribophile and found it helpful.

Apps can be useful too, but bear in mind that apps don’t buy books or commission writing. Here’s some suggestions: writing tools

Just finding one or two people who you can share you work with live, is a huge help. Judith Barrow and Thorne Moore are novelists who live locally here. Their writing feedback friendship has developed…

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Novel Writing: What if it’s all for Nothing?

Uninspired Writers

Good morning, creatives and creators. I hope you’ve all had a good week.

Mine started slow and has ended better! In the earlier stages of the week I was having some bad writing days, and some major writer’s doubt. But I’ve tried to be kind to myself, to relax and give myself a break. As such, I’m now back on track.

But one thing was nagging at me, something that I’ve seen many other unpublished writers worrying about to. This awful question, after years of working hard on a project, rewriting, revising, studying; what if it’s all for nothing?

It stems, I think, from a fear of rejection a worry that our works will never be read or appreciated. And with that in mind, I wanted to share some thoughts with you all, including ways to stop that question from taking over.

1. It’s never for nothing
I’ve put…

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