A week in Paris

How’s your balance? Recently I went to Paris for a week. It was an unplanned trip. Very last minute and I was thrilled to return to a city I love and where I lived years ago. I declined at first, citing work load. I’m working through my draft and want to keep momentum. I was lured by a free ticket and the offer of a friend’s empty apartment. Who could turn that down? It should be noted that when I said yes, I also said, Thanks, I’ll work five or six hours a day and use the rest of the time to re-visit the city. Here’s what really happened. I spent every hour of every day (and night) visiting the city. I went to the Louvre three times, and about 12 other museums, including an unfortunate venture to the Musée des Égouts de Paris (the Museum of the Sewers). With my husband I strolled the streets, visited the stores, gazed at the Seine and enjoyed many fine restaurants. What I didn’t do is take a look at my manuscript. Not once. Not even a glimpse (I was beyond lying to myself). However, and this is a big however, two things did happen. One, I got some distance from it and now that I’m home and working again I have a fresh perspective. Second, and most important, I came up with the theme and plot for my next book! It was liberating to be in a place where I had no other obligations and think, really think, about what comes next. Clearly the next in the series will now be partly set in France, specifically in Paris, and I spent several days following up on ideas and wandering to the appropriate places, and talking to people. I think it can be hard to balance life and work. It can also be hard to justify taking a real break. Now that it’s over, I’m glad I took that break. A break that is far from the routine of daily life is a wondrous thing. Anybody else thinking about a break? My advice, take it.

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