Post-Paris Crunch Time

I recently returned from wonderful, romantical Paris, where I completed the fourth residency of my graduate MFA program in creative writing. (Just one more left!). This trip to Paris was especially good. Mr. Jerusal-Em came for a few days and we celebrated New Year’s Eve in the cozy home of friends, walked around Montmarte, and finally went to the Musee d’Orsay. I did plenty of strolling, lots of wine sipping and cheese-eating, listened to many thought-provoking lectures from authors, attended hours of writing workshops, and got stuck in an elevator with nine classmates for close to an hour. It was an eventful few weeks.

The real benefit of these forays to Paris is that I return ready to write. These next five months are particularly important because in July, I’ll turn in a thesis of 75 polished pages of my novel. (And hopefully I’ll be done with the novel, which will likely be closer to 200 pages).

Every time I go to Paris for school, I keep my ears open for advice, words of wisdom, and practical tip on how to instill in my writing what is lacking. This time: It’s tension. I worry that I have a lot of interesting scenes in my novel  (many inspired by true events), but what I need is to build tension and to create a stronger thread connecting all these scenes. Also: love triangles (the focus of my required reading this semester is love triangles). So, tension and romantic entanglements. Should be an interesting semester!

Bonus: I have my first-ever home office, a designated space in which to work, and hopefully that will instill in me clarity of focus (and less Facebook checking?)

Happy New Year to all, happy writing to all the writers, and to the Paris-lovers like myself, here are some photos from my recent trip.

To French cheese, Paris, and writing,

Em in Jerusalem


When you go to dinner at a writer’s house, sometimes they serve up inspirational quotes along with your meal.
Didn’t at all mind seeing this view of the Panthéon every day when I left my little hotel.
Cramped and cozy English-language book store in the Latin Quarter.
Musée d’Orsay
The most beautiful spread.
Artfully-prepared plate of veggies at La Table d’Eugène.
View from NYU’s panoramic classroom.
Backside of Sacre Cour.
A subdued Christmas display at the Hotel de Ville (no ice rink this year!)
Our wine and poety “class” at Shakespeare and Company. Seriously. I get academic credit for this.
Had a Midnight in Paris moment seeing this cool vintage Ford.
Notre Dame





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