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!
The Gypsy Caravan 2022
Monday, July 14, 2014
Paris In July: Paris Letters
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Looks a charming book, just my sort of read, will look out for it.
It's good to be reminded that we are the makers of our own destiny.
Oh, this sounds like a book I would like. Added to my TBR!
I do love what you shared here today. I follow along with Carol, so know of Janice and her butcher love. This inspires me to want to read more of her story.
I love to read and get lost in a good book, because I'm still working on my bachelor's degree I feel guilty reading for pleasure as I keep thinking I must study!! Thank you so much for your kind words on my post... xx
I hope your week is wonderful!
Oh my gosh, I NEED to buy this book. It sounds right up my alley! I love books like this as they are so inspiring. And I love her comment about being your own creative director of your life. I am so happy that you were able to retire as I can tell how happy you are now. It's not that you weren't happy before, it's just that us readers can tell that you are really at peace with where you are at. I'm getting closer to that point but am not quite there... but I've got some time to figure that out, I guess! And this book might just give me some inspiration!
this sounds like another book to be added to my tbr
Glad you had the chance to read Chatelaine Magazine. I thought they had gone out of print, folded already. Apparently not. That was the first mag. I'd ever subscribed when I was still a college student. Glad too throughout Chatelaine, you found this book. Looks like it's one of those gems that inspires one to pursues one's dream. I've just posted a book too for Paris in July: How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton. ;)
I've been admiring this book for quite some time now...but have been afraid to add it my growing TBR mountain!!
Thanks for tipping me over the edge :-)
After reading through your post I popped over to my local library site and Voila!...I have this book on hold. It sounds wonderful. Thanks for telling us about it.
You just pulled at my heart strings Jeanie!!!!
You're the second person to recommend this book to me.
This looks terrific. It's going on my wish list.
I love a book with illustrations & the black & white drawings look perfect for the text.
Sounds like a book I would love. It has to go on my TBR list. I agree, I think we are happier when we take control of our lives and do what we really want.
Lisbeth @ The Content Reader
Oh this sound like a delightful read Jeannie. I must get this book soon. Yes, I totally agree with the delightful artist you are, love hearing all about what you are doing. I’m enjoying all your travel tidbits too you are sharing this summer.
"WrIte to learn what you know." This is so true. And I would add, draw to know what you see.
You're so right. We can stay too long in certain situations. I've seen people do it many times. And then there are those who can pick up and move on, leaving situations that no longer work for them and begin new lives. Some completely reinvent themselves. At certain junctures, it take courage to be a pioneer.
Well done on becoming the head honcho creative director of your own life- that really is something that I really need to do. I've been watching Janice on Parisbreakfasts too, I bought my own copy of Paris Letters a few weeks ago, I'm looking forward to reading it even more now.
Loving your positive attitude, Miss Jeanie!
Sounds like an interesting read thanks for the recommendation.
Glad to hear it's time for Paris again what with Rue Cler and all. Since I'm engaged in a project on a cooking author who lived all his life in Paris, I think I'll just join in.
There have been times in my life when I should have run screaming for the hills, and didn't. That got me into trouble a time or two, but eventually I got out of trouble, and took the lessons I learned into the future.
Sometimes, of course, change is foced on us, and we have to cope. I could be wrong, but it seems to me that learning to cope with unwanted change makes it more possible to pursue the changes we do want to make.
Oh, definitely my type of read. Thans for sharing.
Dear Madam Creative Director of Your Own Life,
I love this.
Thank you for sharing your moment with all of us. I've put "CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF MY OWN LIFE" on a post-it and stuck it to my monitor.
Cheers to you & Rick and La Cosette.
Maryanne in SC
I'm always so happy to discover another book about someone who takes charge of her life and creativity AND lives in one of my favourite cities. What a delight!
Another book added to the TBR list :) Thank you so much for such an informative review.
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