I first learned about Janice MacLeod and her book "Paris Letters" through an article in Chatelaine Magazine, which I picked up at the grocery store during a stop in London, Ontario last March. I tore out the article and thought, "Someday I need to read this."
Then Carol of Paris Breakfasts began to wax eloquent about her friend "La Janice" and her handsome butcher-husband who looked like Daniel Craig. I began reading Janice's blog -- and then the book.
I'm so glad I did. "Paris Letters" is a delight in a number of ways. First, Janice is a good writer with plenty of humor. She tells her story of her unsatisfying life as a copywriter for an L.A. advertising agency and her dream of saving enough to travel in Europe for a year. On her sojourn to Paris, she spots a handsome butcher while writing in her journal in a cafe across from his shop. They begin shy "bonjours" and evolve to sign language, "Franglish" and finally love.
Janice decides to stay in Paris with her butcher and the book chronicles her life as an ex-pat in the City of Light and her idea to support herself -- by offering a subscription of letters from Paris, illustrated with her watercolors. The wildly successful scheme allowed her to stay with her butcher, do something she loved (create art) in a city she loved as well.
That's the second reason I love the book -- the illustrations. I wish they were all in color, but I'm delighted to join along in reading her letters with her lovely illustrations.
I really enjoyed her list of 100 ways to save toward a goal. It's a terrific reminder of putting what matters to you at the forefront and then working toward a goal.
And the book resonated with me in so many ways, but none more so than the words: "First and most obviously was that I had all the inner resources I needed to effectively deal with my situations. And secondly, I needed to realize that I was an artist. Not the one who paints letters about Paris. The artists who is head honcho creative director of her own life."
I cried when I read that. Because that's what I have finally done -- recognized my own inner resources and become the head honcho creative director of MY own life."
We get into bumpy ruts in our lives, sometimes staying in jobs (or situations or marriages or communities) that don't fit us, that make us edgy and stressed out. Sometimes we need to make a plan, a goal. It may not be going to Paris. In my case, it was retiring from my job. But the point is, when you want it, when becoming in charge of your own life matters more than doing what you were always doing, you can change.
Check out both Janice and Carol's blogs for more on Paris -- and check out "Paris Letters" for a wonderful read! (This post is part of the Paris In July blog tour. visit HERE for a full list of other participants!
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