Last night, I finally finished reading the book Lessons from Madame Chic, written by blogger, Jennifer L. Scott. My friend, who knows me so well, gave this book to me as a birthday gift back in April. I’ve been reading it slowly and mindfully, trying to prolong the experience of living in the pages of this wonderful little book for as long as possible. As I neared its inevitable end, I felt a sweet sense of sadness. I’ve so enjoyed reading about the author’s experiences and life lessons learned while living in Paris with Famille Chic during a college semester, that I wished the book would go on forever.
As a Francophile, I buy and am gifted many books such as Madame Chic. I have shelves filled with books about Paris, French living, France in general, and the enigmatic and ever-so glamorous Parisian woman with her intellect, sense of balance and elegance. Not surprisingly, I devour these types books. They’re each like a little enchanted voyage to Paris, except that I’m on my couch and firmly planted in Southern California. While reading each book, I pick up pointers and incorporate as much “Frenchness” as I can into my very American life. When each book ends, tears inevitably roll down my cheeks, as I feel the sadness of my journey ending and realizing that my adventures, while wonderfully beautiful, were simply imaginary and not the real deal. But each book leaves behind some small fundamental shift inside my mind and in my heart, and I find myself more and more drawn to the French way of life.
This particular book struck several chords with me. I was especially interested in it because its author began her writing career as a blogger. She’s the creative force behind The Daily Connoisseur, a blog I’m going to enjoy getting to know very well. The notion of using a blog as a launchpad for a writing career is very interesting to me. That’s because this is what I hope to be able to do some day soon. But, Madam Scott also captured my attention, as many of her interests and likes are quite close to mine. Beside sharing a passion for Paris, we also share similar tastes in music, books, authors and we even love the same film director- Alfred Hitchcock. And there are places in the book when it felt as if I were reading my thoughts in print, written by someone’s hand. To put it in another way, she would my BFF if we had met in real life! It was actually a bit eerie, especially when I got to Chapter 26, entitled Live A Passionate Life.
“Every detail of life can become exceptional if you allow it to be so,” Scott writes.
I live that sentence. I really do. A simple walk with the dog can’t help but turn into a beautiful experience when there are big yellow and black butterflies fluttering around and hummingbirds diving in and out of sight. An hour of writing nourishes the mind and soul, as words pour out onto the iPad while classical music plays in the background on a French Internet radio. Even a sixth IVF (in vitro fertilization) procedure can honestly be (somewhat) joy-filled (among other less superlative adjectives) with some colorful “lucky” socks (the lucky part is TBD) and a copy of Lessons from Madame Chic, accompanying the jangled nerves and the prescription valium. Yes, I took my book with me to my embryo transfer a week ago today. The point is that I believe that the most mundane, stressful, nerve wracking, or even life altering events, tasks and chores can hold enchantment, if you make them so.
There was a time when I didn’t live this way. When sad things and joyous things could not coexist in my life side by side. I didn’t see a point to enjoying when there was sadness, loss or imperfection. How could I enjoy my life or be happy, when life wasn’t going the way I wished, worked for or planned, I used to think. But now, when I read: “[a]llow yourself to be moved on daily basis,” I know exactly what that means because I have chosen to live that way, despite setbacks and letdowns and losses.
So, as I say au revoir to Madam Chic and merci beaucoup to Madame Scott for a heady and grand adventure, and as I close my cherished book and place it next to all my other French books, I take the joy and enjoyment I felt throughout this book and I incorporate the feelings into my daily life. After all, I am here to feel joy, passion and beauty each and every day I’m alive.
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