Is Travel Writing Dead? (and other weekend reads)

Last weekend, I found myself juggling visitors, personal projects, and my peace of mind. Juggling is decidedly not my forté. I chose two out of three and let my writing projects slide. This week I made up for lost time: squeezing in extra writing time, blog planning, setting up an interview for a future article, planting seeds in my window boxes, watching Beauty & the Beast, and dueling with French bureaucrats. I even stepped out of my comfort zone to create a video application for an insanely cool opportunity as a travel blogger for ThirdHome! I’m not a videographer by any means, but it was fun to capture Paris through a different medium. This week has been go-go-GO! We’ll see what the future brings! In the meantime, here’s what’s been on my mind (and my browser) in between the crazy:

Pastis in Casablanca

Photo by Jo Turner

Over the last couple years, my interest in Morocco has grown. Chalk it up to living in France, I suppose. I loved Dave Hazzan’s short piece for Roads & Kingdoms about drinking culture past and present in Casablanca, Morocco. Mention Edith Piaf, and I’m in.

Cats Explain Things To Me

“I read your books while you sleep. I hide all your socks. I hide them good.”

I just discovered Granta has a cat mascot named Typo, and he blogs. Totally normal. I loved Typo’s cat-themed musings, including cat zines, cats teaching true intimacy, and shout outs to the internet Cat Crew. Yes! Dig in!

Beauty & Bestiality?

Okay, so I’m reassured to find that it wasn’t just me: we were all a little bit disappointed when the Beast transformed into Dan Stevens at the end of the movie. And I love Dan Stevens! What’s with that?! I loved Jia Tolentino’s essay on the subtext in Beauty & The Beast, and unraveling the messaging underneath the surface of this classic fairy tale.

Is Travel Writing Dead?

As a budding travel writer, the title grabbed me from the start. Granta’s series of essays answering this question have captured my imagination, though I particularly liked Geoff Dyer’s musings on the subject. Every book is a departure—as soon as we open to the first page, we’ve set off into the unknown.

Bricktop, Cabaret Queen

There was a little reference to the queen of 1920s Parisian nightlife in Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. At the time, the quick “Let’s go to Bricktop’s!” stuck in my mind, but I’d yet to discover the very real life of Ada Beatrice Queen Victoria Louise Virginia Smith. I stumbled on her New York Times obituary— don’t ask me how; I really couldn’t tell you—and realized I’d seriously been missing out! Since moving to Montmartre, I’ve strolled by the site of her club countless times, completely unaware that Fitzgerald used to drink, dance, and be merry right in my neighborhood. If you’re interested, here’s another interesting piece on Bricktop from The Paris Review. Pretty cool, huh?

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

I’ve been meditating on beginnings lately. Every story has to start somewhere. I recently decided to shelve my long-term writing project and have a crack at something new. It’s no secret that I adore Matthew Weiner’s Mad Men, but reading and picking apart the pilot script “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” is a refresher course on setting up a web of characters and tensions.

That’s all folks! Happy skimming.

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