You may have read on these pages that every now and again, I hold a literary salon in my home, inviting published authors to come read to us from their work and talk about their journey in becoming an author. The evenings have started to build a reputation for themselves, drawing 25-30 people into my home on a Monday night. Fun, happy people who are thrilled to stay and chat. It is wonderful, and it is my dream come true, but I don’t live alone. I live with a man who starts his day at 6am.
Last month I learned that Mr French would be out of town the second week of December. It was the first time I’ve ever seen the upside to his business trips. I’d host a words&wine evening chez nous!
I looked at the calendar and my eyes popped wide when I realized that the second Monday in December happened to be my birthday. Not only would I get to have my literary salon, but I’d be having an unBirthday party, as well!
The last time I threw myself and unBirthday party it was for my 40th birthday. Everyone in the house thought they had been invited to celebrate my becoming a French citizen. We ate foie gras and oysters, sipped champagne and danced into the wee hours. Our neighbor, the gracefully elegant French author Saphia Azzedine showed up with her then boyfriend, Jamel Debbouze, who, at the time, was the most popular comedian in the country. Their presence catapulted me into stardom with our French friends who were suddenly very impressed with my “connections” and on Monday morning I was suddenly the “cool” Mom waiting to pick up her kids in front of the public school.
This year was just as thrilling. Our original author had to drop out at the last minute, due to a passport gone awol. With just 24 hours notice, my friends and rockstar authors, Jenna Warnecke and Lisa Czarina Michaud agreed to step in and save the evening. People were impressed. Not only did could I plan a literary salon, but like a famous baseball coach, I had a ready stable of pinch hitters.
Jenna is the author of the practical blog, Paris Cheapskate.She has straight, shoulder length hair, and wears dark glass that give her a strict librarian look that contrats beautifully with the shocking reds of her wardrobe. You know this girl has depth before she has ever spoken a word.
In someways, Lisa is her direct opposite, with sensually full Italian hair, an irrepressible smile and so much coquine seasoning, it has become her nickname and the force behind her blog, EllaCoquine, Tales from a Chambre de Bonne.
Both girls wow-ed the crowd, each in her own, very unique way. And as a little cherry on the whipped cream of this very perfect birthday celebration, Em ratted me out, announcing that it was my birthday and Mary Kay from Out and About in Paris led them in a round of the Birthday song. It was at this moment, my face turning the color of an heirloom tomato, that I realized I have not had a group of people sing happy birthday to me since I was 15 years old and my mother organized a 7am surprise birthday breakfast in my bedroom.
I could not have wished for a greater birthday present. If you’d like read more about the evening and what our two authors had to say, please join me on the words&wine blog.
Would have loved to have been there to join in the singing for you!
A surprise birthday breakfast? How sweet is that?! Did your mom invite your friends or was it just a family thing? And you haven’t heard Happy Birthday sung to you since you were 15? Well that’s just crazy. Expect to hear it every year from now on. : )
Thank you for including me in words and wine and this write up. Now I’m turning heirloom tomato red. : O !
Ella… she invited a large group of my friends, including guys. The night before we had a huge fight because she insisted I sleep in proper pjs and not my ratty old t-shirt! Since then, it has been just my girls and my partner who sing Happy Birthday, which is nothing like hearing it from a friendly group!
Happy birthday Sylvia! Sorry I was out of town and couldn’t join in the celebrations.
It was a memorable evening and I greatly enjoyed the readings from both rock starts Ella and Jenna. And of course singing in the chorus of happy birthday to the Gentille Organisatrice (G.O.) When’s the next one? 🙂
I meant “rock stars”! Sorry for the typo!