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Bonjour! I’m Erin.
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Monthly Archives: September 2016
I found these candles by Maison La Bougie over at Le Bon Marché and my eyes just about popped out of my head. If I were ever to think up the “perfect” candle, ones that smell like a day spent in Paris –starting with the view of La Tour from your bedroom window and cold morning air, breakfast of coffee and croissants at Café de Flore, and an afternoon reading at the Bibliothèque National, inhaling old pages and leather spines– would’ve been what I came up with. And that’s exactly what these are! If I had to pick a favorite, it would have to be Café de Flore. But truthfully I’d take any of them, and would sniff them longingly when Paris felt too far away. It doesn’t hurt that the packaging and branding is beyond gorgeous.
This edition of four candles, along with tons of other goodies, is available through a special collection of Paris-themed items in exclusive collaborations with Paris-based designers for sale at LBM until October 15th. There are sweatshirts with the names of different neighborhoods embroidered on them, Repetto ballet flats with the map of the city on them, pins in the shape of a baguette and a wheel of Camembert, just to name a few of the delightful objets for sale. Here’s wishing I could beam myself to Paris before this pop-up ends!
September 27, 2016 / design /
I’ve been working on this novel for three+ years, and during that time, whenever anyone would ask me what it was about, my answer was always, “An art heist in Paris. It’s a backwards whodunit.” I’d go on to explain that the book opens with a character stealing a painting, and his storyline works backwards through the novel, going through each painting he stole and why, while another, parallel storyline, about his former colleague and the gallery assistant at his friend’s wife’s gallery (still with me?), takes place present day and moved forwards. Usually there are hand motions involved; I’d literally point my hands in opposite directions to drive home the plot. But it always bothered me that my novel isn’t actually a whodunit, even it if unfurls backwards; we know whodunit the moment the book opens (spoiler: Dubois!). If anything, it’s a whydunit, but that’s not really right either.
So a few weeks ago, I chanced a google of “backwards whodunit” and lo and behold, there’s actually a literary term for precisely this genre of book: “howcatchem.” And as the name suggests, rather than a mystery around who, howcatchems focus on the how. (If only I’d known sooner! I could’ve saved myself all of the gesturing!) Howcatchems are also known as “Inverted Detective Stories,” and usually start with a murder, and are followed by an investigation playing out to piece together the crime. Other crimes (say, for example, stealing 14 paintings from the Paris Sotheby’s over two years) fall into the subgenre of “Capers.” According to Wikipedia:
The caper story is a subgenre of crime fiction. The typical caper story involves one or more crimes (especially thefts, swindles, or occasionally kidnappings) perpetrated by the main characters in full view of the reader. The actions of police or detectives attempting to prevent or solve the crimes may also be chronicled, but are not the main focus of the story. The caper story is distinguished from the straight crime story by elements of humor, adventure, or unusual cleverness or audacity.”
Et voila. That’s my novel to the letter. (Swindles!)
The only problem, of course, is that I cannot bring myself to say with a straight face, “I am writing a caper!” I don’t have an old-timey tweed cap and I don’t use a typewriter. Nor do I particularly like the term ‘howcatchem’; perhaps because it’s not as frequently used as “whodunit,” it sounds less like an actual word and more like a try-hard portmanteau one must pronounce with a southern accent. Backwards whodunit it is.
PS. Want to hear something weird? I’ve already started outlining what my next novel will be, and it follows the same story structure. Apparently I have a thing for capers.
PPS. Yes, I know, I shouldn’t be working on or even thinking about my second novel until this one is finished. Fear not, that day is coming very, very soon. (eep!)
September 22, 2016 / life / dog /
On a rainy Saturday two years ago (two!!) Jamal and I said “I do” in front of 85 of our closest family and friends. It’s been a grand two years. We celebrated with an indulgent, over-the-top brunch on Sunday like we did last year (and hopefully like we will next year and the year after, if for no other reason than the insane chocolate fountain). This last year went by in a flash; the first year felt longer than the second, which may be attributed to the rut we were both stuck in last year (I changed careers about three different times, oy). Jamal is in Baltimore for the week, because of course he is. He hopped on a train right after we ate, but after two years of marriage and six years of being together, this doesn’t even faze me. Besides, I start my new role as an intern in the Fine Arts Department at an auction house today! In terms of distractions, I think that’s a good one. (More details to come, kiddos!)
Happy anniversary, Jamal! I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. Thank you for making marriage so much fun.
I took Fitz out for a walk after dinner on Tuesday night, and was stopped in my tracks the moment we closed the door behind us. The sky was a bright yellow, with giant tufts of thick clouds in shades of pale pink and orange. Fitz wasn’t as impressed, and kept sassing me whenever I paused to look up at the sky and marvel (apparently peeing was more important). We came back inside and I quickly grabbed my camera and ran back to the corner to snap a few photos. In those short 10 minutes, the colors had changed and brightened and become more saturated and, somehow, more beautiful. I haven’t seen a sky like this since Paris in early summer; I had lunch with my dad’s friend John last week and we both agreed the cloud formations and sunset colors, like virtually everything else, are far more gorgeous in Paris. Well, I think this was Philadelphia’s way of proving us wrong.
September 1, 2016 / art / photo /